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August 6, 2009

The Department of Emergency Management advises residents to continue following the progress of Hurricane Felicia as it approaches the islands 

Hurricane Felicia is currently a Category 4 storm system located approximately 1,475 miles east-south-east of Hilo with maximum sustained winds of 135 mph and higher gusts.  Felicia  continues to progress across the Pacific Ocean towards Hawaii.  The National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center advises us that Felicia could pass close to our islands sometime on Tuesday.  It is too early to tell what the effects will be. However most guidance points to Felicia being a Tropical Storm at that time which could still bring high winds, severe flooding and high surf along our East shores.

"All residents should closely follow the track of Felicia, which is the strongest storm system in the Pacific since Hurricane Daniel in 2006", said Mayor Mufi Hannemann.  "In addition we highly advise everyone to begin individual, family and business preparedness actions as soon as possible".

The National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu will issue information statements on the storm system once it passes the 140 degree west longitude mark  and enters into Hawaiian waters which is anticipated to happen on Saturday.  All residents should also be aware that there have been changes to the definitions of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings:

Hurricane or Tropical Storm WATCH

A Hurricane/Tropical Storm WATCH means that the hurricane/tropical storm conditions of high winds, wind-driven rain, and storm surge are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 48- hours. Note: This is new National Weather Service guidance for 2009.

When a WATCH is issued residents should:

  • Fuel your vehicle and maintain the level at full or no less than one-half,
  • Prepare to protect windows and doors with plywood (minimum 5/8" thick), boards, storm shutters or other types of hurricane resistant window protection.
  • Check emergency food and water supplies. Maintain enough supplies to provide for the needs of everyone in your family including pets for a minimum of five to seven days.  Store your emergency supplies in a cooler or other type of easily transported container in case you have to evacuate your place of residence.
  • Ensure that you have a working portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries.

Be sure that loose outdoor items such as garbage cans, lawn chairs and tables, garden tools etc. are stored or secured in place.

  • Check and replenish first-aid supplies, prescription and over-the-counter medication.
  • Keep an extra supply of cash on-hand, the amount that you would normally spend over five to seven days is a good planning figure.
  • Prepare for the special needs of pets, elderly, infants or those dependent on electricity.

Hurricane or Tropical Storm WARNING

A Hurricane/Tropical Storm WARNING means that the hurricane/tropical storm conditions of high winds and storm surge are possible in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 36-hours. Note: This is new National Weather Service guidance for 2009.

When a WARNING is issued residents should:

  • Be prepared to evacuate if ordered to do so, especially if you live in:
    • The Coastal Evacuation Zone Consult telephone book white pages evacuation maps or visit our web site at www.oahuDEM.org and click on the Tsunami Map Viewer link.  Hurricane evacuation zones are the same as those for a tsunami.
    • Flood Zones.
    • Older homes (built pre-1995) on exposed ridgelines and on mountain slopes.
    • Older "plantation" style single wall homes without foundations, regardless of where they are located.
  • Complete any unfinished hurricane WATCH actions.
  • Follow emergency instructions issued by emergency management or public safety officials.
  • Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the area of your evacuation plans so you can re-establish contact after a storm.

Visit the Department of Emergency Management web site at www.oahuDEM.org

for more preparedness information and to view a list of Oahu hurricane shelters and coastal evacuation zones.

 

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Contact:

John M. Cummings III

Public Information Officer

(808) 723-8957  Office