hurricane Iniki Hawaiian Islands Dr. George Pararas Carayannis

Tsunami, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Volcanic Eruptions, Climate Change and other Natural and Man-Made Hazards and Disasters - Disaster Archaeology,


Hurricane Iwa of November 19- 25, 1982 in the Hawaiian Islands

George Pararas-Carayannis

(©) Copyright 2007 George Pararas-Carayannis


Weather-related disasters that can adversely impact the Hawaiian Islands include hurricanes and their associated surge flooding. The 1982 Hurricane Iwa was one of the most significant hurricanes of the 20th Century to impact the Hawaiian Islands. What was surprising about Iwa - which means "frigate bird" in Hawaiian, was that it formed very late in the Central Pacific's hurricane season and took an unusual path.

Iwa's path, close to the island of Kauai, resulted in great destruction, although other islands also experienced its adverse impact. Iwa resulted in only one fatality but caused extensive devastation on the islands of Niihau, Kauai and Oahu. It destroyed hotels and condominiums and its storm waves, superimposed on its surge, destroyed beachfront hotels and condominiums and sank boats moored in local harbors. The damage was estimated to more than $250 million (in 1982 dollars), making it the costliest (up to that time) hurricane for the Hawaiian Islands.


Damage from Hurricane Iwa on the Island of Kauai,




Hurricane Iwa

November 19- 25, 1982


Iwa's Formation: Iwa begun developing as a low pressure trough near the equator in early November 1982. Slowly, it begun to gain strength and to move northeastward. Early in the day on November 19, it had organized into a tropical storm but later that same day - as it moved over warmer waters (partially because it was an El Nino year) - it gained strength and reached Category 1 hurricane status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS). At that time it was about 500 miles southwest of Hilo, Hawaii.

Tracks of Storm Systems and Hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific including Hurricane Iwa, during the 1982 Pacific hurricane/storm season.

Iwa continued moving in a northeastward direction towards Kauai. On November 23, its wind speeds reached a peak of 90 mph with sustained winds ranging from 80-90 miles per hour and gusts up to 100 miles an hour (160 km/h). Its central pressure is not known. The following day, November 24, the eye of hurricane passed approximately 25 miles north of the northwestern coast of Kauai. However its radius of maximum winds was right over the island., causing maximum destruction.

Iwa continued in a northeastward direction losing energy and intensity. It became a tropical storm again on November 24 and dissipated on November 25, 1982.

The diagram below shows the track of Iwa for the period of 10-25 November 1982. The following map shows the track of Iwa and location during the period of its highest intensity near Kauai.


Track of Hurricane Iwa, in November 19-25, 1982


Track of Hurricane Iwa at its closest path near Kauai between 8:00 A. M and 8:00 P.M. on November 23, 1982















Winds on Oahu: The most severe conditions from Iwa - measured at Wheeler Air Force Base on 23 November 1982 - were winds of 45 knots from the North/Northwest, gusting to 68 knots. The wind directions changed from 332 to 113 degrees. At Barber's Point the winds were from the Southwest at 37 knots gusting to 61 knots.


Adams, W.M., and Pararas-Carayannis G., Relative Susceptibility of the Hawaiian Islands to Waves Generated by Storms and Nuclear Explosions. (Hawaii institute of Geophysics - Report to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.) Oct. 1966.

National Hurricane Center (2004). Costliest U.S. Hurricanes 1900-2004 (adjusted). URL accessed on 2006-03-18.

Pararas-Carayannis G. Hurricane Surge Prediction - Understanding the Destructive Flooding Associated with Hurricanes

Pararas-Carayannis G. HURRICANE INIKI IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS September 11, 1992

Pararas-Carayannis, G., 1973. Offshore Nuclear Power Plants: Major Considerations and Policy Issues. Chap. VIII: Direct Environmental Impacts of Offshore Plants, 8 Nov. 1973, President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Task Force on Offshore Nuclear Power Plants, Washington D.C.

Pararas-Carayannis, G., 1975. "
Verification Study of a Bathystrophic Storm Surge Model". U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers - Coastal Engineering Research Center, Washington, D.C., Technical Memorandum No. 50, May 1975 (Study performed for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the licencing of the Crystal River (Florida) nuclear plant).


Pararas-Carayannis, G. Proposed American National Standard - Aquatic Ecological Survey Guidelines For the Siting, Design. Construction, and Operation of Thermal Power Plants. American Nuclear Society, Monogram, September, 1979.

Pararas-Carayannis, G.,1993.
The Wind and Water Effects from Hurricane Iniki on September 11, 1992, at Lawai Beach Resort, Poipu, Island of Kauai, Hawaiian Islands. A study prepared for Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co., Inc, Spokane, Washington,and the Ritter Group of Companies, Chicago, June, 1993.

Pararas-Carayannis, G., 2004.
Natural Disasters in Oceania, Chapter 10, in International Perspectives on Natural Disasters: Occurence, Mitigation, and Consequences -Book Series: ADVANCES IN NATURAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL HAZARDS RESEARCH, Western Michigan University, ISBN: 1-4020-2850-4, Nov. 2004, Springer Publishing, Netherlands.

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