Still the strongest hurricane to have hit Hawaii in recorded history, Hurricane Iniki caused over $2 billion in damages. The storm struck on September 11th, 1992. This hurricane came during the strong El Nino that carried on between 1991 and 1994. This was the same year catastrophic Hurricane Andrew hit Florida and the eastern seaboard. A total of 11 tropical storms were tracked during the 1992 storm season for the eastern Pacific.
The exact history of Iniki is unknown, but is theorized to have been a tropical wave that exited from Africa, across the Atlantic, past Central America, and into the Pacific. On September 6th, the storm was classified as Tropical Depression 18E. 18E was originally located 1700 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. The storm travelled quickly until the 8th of September, when it slowed enough o gain strength and become a tropical storm. On Sept. 9th, Iniki became a hurricane, now just 470 miles from Hilo.
On Sept. 11th, the storm passed directly over Kauai. It was a category 4 hurricane when it hit Kauai. More than 1,400 homes were destroyed, another more than 5,000 severely damaged. Because of proper warnings and preparedness, only six lives were lost to the hurricane in Hawaii.
The storm passed by Oahu, causing severe storm surge, which increased the tides by an abnormal 3 feet and caused severe waves to crash ashore. Beachside second floor apartment were flooded. Several million dollars in damage were caused and two lives lost in Oahu alone.