Hurricanes, Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in Hawaii

March 9, 2023

tornadoes in Hawaii

Weather-related disasters can have serious impacts on the Hawaiian Islands. They include hurricanes and their associated surge flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Tornadoes are powerful winds that can damage a home and cause structural and environmental damage. They can also bring down a large number of trees and destroy habitats for animals.


A rare tornado outbreak swept through the state of Hawaii on August 23rd. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for a number of areas in Hawaii including the island of Kauai.

A powerful thunderstorm moved over the southwestern part of Kauai around 6:00 AM and quickly developed into a supercell. The National Weather Service warned that wind gusts up to 60 mph were possible as the storm approached the shoreline.

Tornadoes are violent rotating columns of air that can destroy structures, uproot trees and hurl objects like deadly missiles. They are usually the last weather phenomenon to reach Hawaii, but can cause significant damage when they do.


On February 11, a weak tornado touched down in Kapolei, Oahu. It ripped up trees and caused minor roof damage to some buildings, including the Kapolei Golf Course.

This was the first tornado to hit Oahu in more than a year, according to the BBC News. One Kapolei golf course employee who tried to protect people from the storm was injured.

Located in the "Second City of O'ahu," Kapolei is a great place for families to get together. There are many family-friendly activities to keep keiki (kids) entertained, from educational activities to thrill rides.


Waimea is a famous surfing spot on the north shore of Oahu. This area is especially popular during winter months when large weather systems from the North Pacific send swells and waves down to Hawaii.

The normally calm water of Waimea Bay can turn to a violent tempest in the wake of these storms. This can result in deadly surf conditions and fatalities.

Tornadoes in Hawaii are rare, but severe wind storms have occurred throughout the history of the islands. In fact, the first recognized tropical cyclone in Hawaiian waters was Hurricane Hiki, which made landfall on Kauai in August of 1950.

During this storm, a strong landspout tornado formed and reached into an above thunderstorm. This triggered a low-end EF-3 damage event. However, no fatalities were reported.


Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been erupting over the past few weeks, and that means residents are again surrounded by the rumbling sounds of molten rock, ash and acrid gases. But there are some awe-inspiring things that can happen during an eruption:

For example, it is possible to see whirlwinds forming over lava flow fields on Kilauea, according to USGS scientist Steve Brantley.

He spotted one whirling over fissure 8 on the Big Island's eastern side, sending hot lava in a spiral dance upward and out of the ground. It's a rare sight, and it's just one of many spectacular occurrences that have occurred since the eruption started.

The whirling fire clouds are called "pyrocumulus" clouds, and they can form over a small area, similar to normal cumulus clouds that may form over forest fires or large explosive eruptions.


If you’re heading to the Big Island, Kailua-Kona is one of the best places to base yourself for beach activities, exploring historic Hawaiian sites and enjoying al fresco island dining. Its laid-back vibe is a perfect counterpoint to the more active side of Hawaii’s western coast.

Originally a small fishing village, Kailua-Kona is now an active town that draws tourists from all over the world. It’s home to several white sand beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling.

Visitors are also spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants, breweries and coffee shops. Many of these are located along Alii drive, a one-mile stretch of shopping from the pier to the Royal Kona Resort.


Tornado Dave is the best place to learn more about severe weather and climate science. He's a veritable tornado of information, and he loves nothing more than educating others about the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. Make sure to check in with Tornado Dave often, as he's always updating his blog with the latest news and information!
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