JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hurricane Lane is a rare threat for Hawaii becoming the closest Category 5 storm on record to approach Hawaii.
While weaker hurricanes often pass the Polynesian archipelago, the last storm with strength like Lane's was Hurricane John in 1994.
Hurricane database records show Lane is just the the sixth storm to reach Category 5 intensity in the Central Pacific on record.
Others include: Patsy (1959), Emilia (1994), Gilma (1994), John (1994) and Ioke (2006).
Hurricane Iniki was the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. state of Hawaii with 145 mph winds striking Kauaʻi in 1992.
Tropical cyclone activity usually is much higher in the Pacific compared to the Atlantic. In fact just this year the Pacific hosted 12 named tropical cyclones compared to four in the Atlantic.
The unbalance between ocean basins this year is partially due to a weak El Nino cycle. Moderate to strong El Nino years are correlated with increased tropical cyclone activity in the Central Pacific while the impacts quell Atlantic storm systems.