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Weakening Hurricane Felicia still predicted to bring heavy rains, strong winds and high surf to Oahu

Hurricane Felicia which was downgraded to a Category 2 storm system overnight still has the potential to impact Oahu with bouts of severe weather beginning Sunday night or early Monday morning. 

“The Central Pacific Hurricane Center advised us today that even if Felicia becomes a  weak Tropical Storm or Depression that she will still be drawing a lot of moisture with her that could  create flood producing rainfall”, said Melvin Kaku, director of the Department of Emergency Management.  “Meteorologists have informed us to be prepared for the onset of storm generated high surf along our east facing shores where surf heights could range from eight to fifteen feet.  The effects of high surf and increased wind speeds could begin Sunday evening.” 

“I want to sincerely thank our residents who over the last few days have made a serious effort to prepare themselves and their families for Hurricane Felicia”, said Mayor Mufi Hannemann.  “Unfortunately we are not in the clear yet. Felicia continues to threaten the State of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu and we continue to face an increased risk of severe flooding. I ask that our residents add flood safety preparations to their emergency planning over the weekend.”

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

·        Know the meanings and effects of National Weather Service issued messages of Flood Advisory, Flash Flood Watch and 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.  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.

·        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 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!

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