Hurricanes happen; be ready or be at risk
Residents should get prepared, rather than depending on post-storm assistance.
AT this time of year, there is no shortage of warnings and advice from government officials, Civil Defense, Red Cross and weather forecasters
about the approaching months when hurricanes and tropical storms normally develop in the Central Pacific.
Though many island residents get ready, others shrug off recommendations particularly when they hear predictions that just two or three storms could form during the so-called "season" that generally runs from June through November.
Rather than being prepared, they play the odds, but as Jim Weyman, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, says, it only takes one, and that single storm need not be as big or as strong as Katrina to bring havoc and misery to this isolated state.
Hawaii's last hurricane hit 15 years ago. Iniki caused more than $2.6 billion in damage, mostly on Kauai. However, other named storms -- such as Jimena, which inundated the Big Island with heavy rain and high surf in 2003, and Kenneth, whose remnants caused flash floods on Oahu and Kauai in 2005 -- illustrate the danger even on a smaller scale.
Emergency agencies are primed to help should a storm hit Hawaii. However, people should not assume that all their needs will be met by others. Moreover, shelter space in schools and public buildings is inadequate to house everyone who might need lodging.
Self-reliance is the key. Governments and emergency agencies have a wealth of information on how to prepare. Ignore their advice at your own peril.
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