Wednesday, March 17th 2021, 4:55 am - On this day in weather history, Hawaii received two tornado warnings.
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Hawaii is not known for its tornadoes. On average, it's the second-last state in terms of tornado. Alaska takes the "least likely" crown.
Because of this, today's weather history topic is not nearly as catastrophic as other days. When a tornado does touch down in Hawaii, it's usually very weak.
On Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2020, Hawaii received two tornado warnings.
Tornado Warning including Kalaheo HI, Hanapepe HI, Ele'ele HI until 6:15 AM HST pic.twitter.com/oT98Q01jiG
According to Iowa Environmental Mesonet at Iowa State University, these warnings doubled Hawaii's tornado warnings ever recorded in the state. The data has been tracked since 1986.
The previous two warnings were for Kauai on Dec. 13, 2008, and Maui on Mar. 24, 2006.
The tornado warnings were a product of a "Kona storm," which is a type of cyclone in the Hawaiian Islands that's formed from westerly ("Kona") winds. Hawaii usually gets two or three of these storms annually. They usually come with heavy rain, hailstorms, high winds, waterspouts, and the very occasional tornado warning.
The second tornado warning that was issued that day was associated with a rotation that featured a “bounded weak echo region” (BWER) on radar. It looks like the eye of a storm. That apparent hole occurs when an updraft is so strong that rain isn’t able to fall within it.
These two tornado warnings didn't quite make it into actual tornadoes, but the storm left some impressive hail behind.
"The hailstone pictured above measured 4.25 inches in length. It was produced by a supercell thunderstorm on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, on Mar. 9, 2012, and is the largest hailstone on record in the Aloha State." Courtesy of National Weather Service
Hawaii has only received 40 confirmed tornadoes in its history, and no deaths have been associated with them. Their most costly tornado occurred on Jan. 28, 1971, with around $2.5 million worth of damages.
To hear more about this rare Hawaiin event, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."
This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.
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