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Department of Emergency Management urges extreme caution due to forecasted heavy rains this weekend

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has advised that periods of heavy rain, flooding and flash flooding are possible this weekend for the island of Oahu.   

“Based on information we received from the National Weather Service this afternoon an area of unstable weather will develop off of Kauai creating an intense period of heavy rains and possible flooding”, said Mel Kaku, director for the City’s Department of Emergency Management.  “The weather service modeling of these conditions shows that Oahu and Kauai are in the primary threat and hazard area.  We  may begin experiencing the effects of this storm system beginning Friday morning with the heaviest showers and increased potential for flooding on Saturday night through Sunday morning.” 

Residents on Oahu’s windward coast could be impacted by storm conditions very similar to those seen during the 2006 March floods to include road closures, flooding and minor landslides with the difference being a much shorter duration of activity than the 2006 storm. 

“This looks to be the biggest rain producer of the winter season to date and we need to be prepared and aware of the hazards that floods and heavy rains can create”, said Mayor Mufi Hannemann.   

“If you have experienced flood conditions in the past we highly recommend you consider some basic protective actions such as acquiring sandbags or plastic tarps.” said Peter Hirai, plans and operations officer for the Department of Emergency Management. 

The Department of Emergency Management urges residents and businesses to consider the following flood safety precautions: 

·        Know the meanings and effects of a Flood Advisory, Flash Flood Watch, Flash Flood Warning.  Visit the National Weather Service on-line at http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/ for more information and current weather advisory status.  You may also call the National Weather Service at 973-4381 for recorded weather information, and monitor television and radio for the latest updates.

·        Learn the safest route from your home or place of business to high ground should you have to evacuate in a hurry.

·        If your area floods frequently, keep emergency materials on hand such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber, which can be used to protect properties.  

·        Stay away from areas along streams or near drainage canals/ditches.  These areas can become deadly during periods of heavy rainfall.

·        If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.  DO NOT attempt to drive through flooded areas in your vehicle as parts of the road may already be washed out or the water may be much deeper than it appears.  Turn around, don’t drown!

·        Consider canceling or postponing outdoor activities especially hiking in mountains and valleys.  A small stream can become a raging torrent within minutes if previous rainfall has been substantial.  Don’t cross until the flash flood subsides.

·        Heavy rains cause runoff, which attracts more sharks. Avoid swimming immediately after a heavy storm, especially in murky waters.

·        If you experience a flood related emergency call 9-1-1 immediately! 

John M. Cummings III

Public Information Officer

(808) 723-8957  Office

(808) 499-7937  Cell

Friday, November 21, 2008

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