Author Archives: Peter

Hurricanes on Maui

Why does Hawaii get so few hurricanes?  Hans Rosendal, retired meteorologist, provides the answer:
The reasons for the lack of hurricanes in Hawaii are several. We usually don’t quite have sea surface temperatures warm enough (about 82 degrees) and deep  enough warm surface waters to sustain the development of hurricanes. If we get up to 80 degrees now and then in August and September, that is about max.  We therefore have to import the few hurricanes that we do get.

Secondly, the upper wind flow over our region usually features westerlies which is very detrimental to keeping a hurricane approaching from the east from being sheared off. In countless cases we have been ‘saved’ by this upper flow pattern as storms move into our region and fall apart due to it being sheared. What is needed is easterlies at both the surface and aloft so the entire column of air can move along without ventilating out the latent heat derived from the convection which in turn cause the pressure drops and wind increases.

In the case of Iniki in 1992 (an El Nino year), we had an unusual flow pattern with less vertical wind shear and other things working to sustain the health of the storm. Just like living beings, a hurricane goes through a life cycle. Since Iniki formed on this side of 140W longitude about two or three days prior to it hitting Kauai on 9-11,  it was a healthy and growing youngster by the time it moved into our area. The health of storms also depend on what is going on, often far away from the storm.  Let me explain.

This season with its many intense storms in the Atlantic basin has seen unusual high amplitude upper flow across North America with strong surface Highs and troughs along each coast. The pattern was so persistant that a drought was going much of the summer in the midwest. I would compare it to a flow pattern that prevailed during the early and middle 1930s across the U.S. with some areas the driest since then.  Also there was a severe drought in South America with the Amazon basin being the driest in memory and lots of suffering due to lack of water for transportation. These two drought areas, to the north and to the south of the active hurricane breeding trough of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, kept strong subsidence over these land areas as an equilibrium to sustain rising motion over the trough in between them and to feed a moist low level flow of air into the trough.  The trough also enhanced the sea surface temperature warming over the basin.

The feed of air from the south means that it is being imported from the southern hemisphere (SH). During the past few months I have been looking at wind speed and direction at Galapagos Islands on the equator off South America at EQ and 90W. Winds there without fail have been out of the south at 10 to 15 mph flowing across the equator into the NH day in and day out. Then as the winds enter the NH, they become SW winds around 05N and flow across Panama and central America into the Caribbean where they make a left turn at 15N around the trough. This area where the winds make this left turn is where the hurricanes seem to have been forming including  Wilma.

This is getting a little far away from Hawaii, but it kind of supports my own private ideas of the importance of the cross equatorial low level flow component needed, or at least being helpful, to sustain hurricane formation at low latitudes. Thus when storms threaten Hawaii it may be useful to look at what is going on at the equator and beyond to the south of us.

Your question about the effect of the mountain areas of Mauna Kea and Loa and Haleakala on hurricane motion, I prefer not to discuss here. No doubt the massive mountains have a great effect downwind,  and some effect also a distance upwind during the stable stratified flow of trade winds. Thus a weak tropical depression coming in from the east and surrounded by an unstable showery air mass would likely not know the difference as it approaches the mountains. On the other hand, a more intense cyclone surrounded by subsiding ring of stable air could feel some effects. But again, I would not count on it, since at times the forcing is strong, and we have had cases of hurricanes striking the Big Island and Maui including the famous Kohala cyclone in the 19th century.

The track of Iniki northward after passing south of the Big Island was forecast quite well and the hurricane watch was issued the afternoon before on 9/10 as we realized that the storm would not pass as far west of Kauai as earlier thought. We did not get the full 36 hour lead time, we strive for.  I worked on the initial issuance of the watch, so I remember it well.   Courtesy of Kam Sands website .htm 



new Wailea Makena oceanfront subdivision

Makena Sunset is an exclusive Oceanside residential condominium community. Enjoy the comforts of single family living with the ease of having your property maintained and meticulously cared for. Each home consists of approximately 4,200 Square feet of interior living space with 4 bedrooms 4 full bathrooms and 2 half baths. The master suite and kitchen are on the main level and the 3 guest bedrooms are located on the lower level. There is also another 1,150 Sq. ft of outdoor covered lanai space with a built in BBQ area.  Experience the majestic surroundings of one of Maui’s finest treasures “Maluaka Beach” Share in a lifestyle of the finest features and amenities that these luxurious, spacious residences provide. This is an opportunity yet unseen in Makena. Four exclusive homes in a gated community located on one of the finest beaches in the world. Top of the line construction materials and custom design work will awe as you marvel at these prestigious residences. Seize the opportunity and make your dreams come true.  The list of amenities include the following: Private infinity pools and spas, electrically controlled sliding pocket doors, top of the line open floor plan kitchen with upper and lower wet bars, built in Wolf BBQ, all metal work custom designed including: designer private gates, brass and copper hand rails, custom tiki torches throughout the property.

Makena beachfront home for sale

Rarely does a property on Makena’s Poolenalena Beach become available. At the southern end of this picturesque golden beach sits a beach house perfect for casual living. Every room has a west facing view for sunsets, whalewatching and to gather in Makena’s breezes. This is peaceful old Hawaii on the most serene of beaches!  A private gate enables direct entry to Po’olenalena, one of the best Wailea/Makena beachfront locations, so you can walk, jog, swim, paddle, kayak only seconds after leaving your home. The three bedroom home is surrounded by lush landscaping and provides a convenient and open floor plan for a couple or a larger family. You will fall in love with this Old Hawaii all over again!   This magnificent property boasts direct oceanfront access.  Call Peter for more info or to schedule a showing at (808) 344-8000 or email

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Keala O Wailea – New Condo Development Coming to Wailea, Maui

Keala O Wailea is a new Maui condo development with great ocean views, overlooking the Wailea Blue Golf Course.   It’s a brand new luxury condo development under construction now in Wailea, Maui, adjacent to the Wailea Gateway Shopping Center. The amazing views of the south Maui coastline and West Maui Mountains are a highlight of this project. The prices range from around $750,000 to about $1,800,000 for a fee simple, single-level residence.

The first complete units will be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2017.  All 70 units should be complete by the end of 2017. Some of the Keala O Wailea units are now in our Maui MLS, while others will be coming on as they progress. Seven 3-story buildings comprise the residences, with separate garages and carports for everyone. The Phase 1 roll-out went well and Building 1 is pre-sold, by reservation, and Buildings 3 and 7 have also been partially reserved.

All seven buildings have 10 apartments in the same configuration. The first and second floors hold 4 units each, with both 2 and 3 bedroom apartments comprised of about 1,240 to 1,380 sq.ft. Some units will have stairways up, while others will have elevators. The top floor is where it gets interesting, as there will be only 2 penthouses per building, with 3BD/2.5BA and over 1,700 sq.ft. and a 200 sq.ft. lanai. No matter which floor your home is on, there will be fantastic views due to the natural slope of the land.


It’s not too late to pick out a unit and decide which of the three design palettes you prefer. Natural brown hues prevail, and the Makai palette features nice beachy blues. Upgrades are also available, if you feel like customizing your options of flooring, countertops, fixtures and cabinets, appliances, or window treatments.

The Community Center and pool/spa boasts a prime location along the front edge to take advantage of the views. A fitness center will keep you in shape when you’re not out being active in the world. The covered pavilion provides a kitchen and BBQ facilities for all owners, and you will also be able to have gas BBQs on your own lanai.

Because these luxury condo units have not yet been built, a developer contract is required to reserve a unit in your name. Reservations are on a first come/first reserved basis, and we can help buyers get registered and dialed in on the right unit. Having a buyer’s agent is important when dealing directly with any developer, to ensure you’re treated fairly. It won’t cost any extra to have your own representation.

How Can You Reserve One of These Units?

We can set up your registration form, which requires a 5% earnest money deposit to be submitted, along with a lender pre-qualification letter (or proof of funds letter). You’ll have 48 hours to complete a formal contract to hold the desired unit in your name. After 30 days a second deposit of 5% is the next step. A third 5% deposit will be made once the building begins, probably in the first quarter of 2016. So with only 15% down payment, you’re on your way to ownership of a unique and beautiful high-end residence in Wailea, Maui.   Please call Peter Gelsey (808) 344-8000 or email for more information.


Peter Gelsey R(B)

Wailea Makena Real Estate, Inc.

Maui, HI

direct (808) 344-8000


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