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Could Hawaii get hit by a big and powerful tornado like the one in Oklahoma?
Meteorologists say it’s not impossible, but very unlikely that Hawaii would get an EF-4 or EF-5 tornado.
Believe it or not, Hawaii has an average of one tornado every year.
The most recent one happened on March 9, 2012 at about 7 a.m. A waterspout came ashore, became a tornado, and wreaked havoc.
A home on Mokulua Drive was in the tornado’s path.
“You’re talking 4×12 beams just snapped in half,” said Robert Ballard of the National Weather Service.
The twister was an EF0.
And for the most part, tornadoes in Hawaii are on the lower end of the scale.
“In fact the biggest tornado we’ve had in Hawaii was an F2, and that made landfall in Kailua Kona in 1971. That was one of four tornadoes that hit Hawaii that day. Three tornadoes hit the Big Island and one hit Oahu,” Ballard said.
Here’s a list of all the tornadoes Hawaii had over the past 10 years:
- June 2003 – Mililani, Oahu
- Jan. 2004 – Waipahu, Oahu
- Feb. 2004 – Aiea, Oahu
- Feb. 2004 – Pahala, Big Island
- Jan. 2005 – Waimea, Kauai
- Dec. 2005 – Aiea, Oahu
- March 2006 – Kaumalapau Harbor, Maui
- March 2006 – Haiku, Maui
- Sept. 2008 – Lanai Airport, Lanai
- Dec. 2008 – Pakala Village, Kauai
- Feb. 2009 – Kapolei, Oahu (2)
- Feb. 2011 – Kihei, Maui
- Feb. 2012 – Kailua, Oahu
All of them were rated F0 or EF0, all except for one of the twisters on February 11th, 2009.
A thunderstorm that day spawned two separate tornadoes in Kapolei — an EF0 and an EF1.
The EF1 made its way to Kapolei Golf Course, where it tossed a utility cart, damaged part of the clubhouse roof, and injured a golf pro.
The tornado slammed the victim against the glass. The tornado was on the ground for about 20 minutes.
“So it shows you we’re not completely out of the woods here, it’s a very low threat. But it’s not a zero threat. So it’s something to pay attention to. You can’t completely say we’re not in the Midwest, we don’t get that here. It does happen,” Ballard said.
So far this year, no tornadoes have touched down in the islands.
Meteorologists say the best chance for having one in Hawaii is during the winter months.