Steven Spielberg was filming Jurassic Park in Hawaii when Hurricane Iniki hit

·6 min read
Steven Spielberg was filming Jurassic Park in Hawaii when Hurricane Iniki hit

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Saturday, September 5, 1992, Hurricane Iniki formed in the Pacific Ocean. Iniki means "strong and piercing wind" in Hawaiian. The storm impacted areas in Hawaii, United States, mostly the island of Kauaʻi.

The storm formed on Sep. 5, 1992, and strengthened into a hurricane on Sep. 9. On Sep. 10, the storm grew into a Category 3 hurricane. The next day, the storm strengthened into a Category 4 as it made landfall over Kaua'i.

Iniki 08 sept 1992 0256Z
Iniki 08 sept 1992 0256Z

"Iniki (left) as a newly formed tropical storm next to Hurricane Orlene, on September 8." Courtesy of Wikipedia

Iniki swept across the island and 40 minutes later, reentered the Pacific Ocean. On Sep. 13, the storm weakened into a tropical storm and even further into an extratropical cyclone.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center didn't issue and tropical cyclone warnings 24 hours before the storm making landfall. Iniki destroyed over 1,400 houses and intensely damaged over 5,000.

The hurricane caused six deaths and approximately $3.1 billion (1992 USD) in damage. Iniki is the costliest natural disaster in Hawaiian history.

Steven Spielberg was prepping for the final day of shooting Jurassic Park on-location in Kauaʻi when the hurricane hit. Spielberg and the movie's crew of 130 safely stayed in a hotel while the hurricane passed. "Every single structure was in shambles; roofs and walls were torn away; telephone poles and trees were down as far as the eye could see," said Spielberg.

Spielberg included footage of Iniki's aftermath in the completed film. When the storm was over, the cast and crew of Jurassic Park received "I Survived Hurricane Iniki" shirts.

To learn more about Hurricane Iniki, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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