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Hurricanes Expected to Target Hawaii More Frequently

By Valerie Smock
June 6, 2013; 8:55 AM ET

The news comes on and you hear some bad news: there is a hurricane heading your way. It makes your heart race and your palms sweat. To hear that news is scary, especially for an area that has been largely free from these storms.

In more than 30 years, there have only been two landfalling hurricanes to hit Hawaii. Between 1979 and 2003, a tropical cyclone came near the state only every four years on average.

This news comes from a study headed by a team of scientists at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

"In our study, we looked at all tropical cyclones, which range in intensity from tropical storms to full-blown Category 5 hurricanes," said lead author Hiroyuki Murakami. "From 1979 to 2003, both observational records and our model document that only every four years on average did a tropical cyclone come near Hawaii. Our projections for the end of this century show a two- to three-fold increase for this region."

The main factors responsible for the increase are changes in the large-scale moisture conditions, the flow patterns in the wind and in surface temperature patterns stemming from global warming.

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