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Forecast Process

Part of the mission of the National Weather Service (NWS) Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) is to save lives and protect property by issuing watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous weather conditions in the tropics. This section provides information about the roles of those responsible for providing hurricane information to emergency managers and decision makers.

In Hawaii, CPHC is activated by the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Honolulu when there is tropical system in the Central Pacific. The Central Pacific basin extends from 140W to 180 (the dateline) north of the equator.

The CPHC and WFO Honolulu roles in the forecast process are closely coordinated. These are summarized below.

  • Observation
    Observations including satellites, buoys, reconnaissance aircraft, and radar are the basis for all forecast and warning products issued by the CPHC. Quality, quantity, and timeliness of remote sensing observations are critical for accurate and timely forecasts and warnings. Learn More
  • Analysis
    Observations are checked for quality, analyzed, and put into a suite of computer models.
  • Model Guidance and Interpretation
    The computer models perform millions of calculations to generate predictions of hurricane behavior and the general conditions of the atmosphere in which the hurricane is embedded. The model results are packaged as guidance for the appropriate national centers and local offices and for evaluation and use in the NWS's forecast and warning process. Learn More
  • Product Generation
    Once the coordination and collaboration process reaches group consensus, the CPHC/WFO Honolulu generate forecast and warning products for release to the public. Learn More
  • Product Dissemination
    Timely and reliable dissemination of forecasts and warnings is critical to the protection of life and property. Dissemination includes NOAA Weather Radio, Weather Wire, Civil Defense, and the internet.
  • Coordination with Customers
    The CPHC/WFO Honolulu work with our community leaders to determine whether the forecast and warning products issued were useful and how they can provide you even better service in the future.


  • A HURRICANE WATCH issued for your part of the coast indicates the possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours.
    This watch should trigger your family's disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated, especially those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat.
  • A HURRICANE WARNING issued for your part of the coast indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours or less.
    Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.