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Storm warnings will come sooner


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POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2009

Federal weather officials said they plan to give more advance notice to the public the next time a hurricane approaches the state.

;[Preview]  Hurricane Forecast For Hawaii
 

Days away from the start of hurricane season in Hawaii and forecasters are expecting it to be busier than last year.

Watch ]

 

Jim Weyman, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, said “;hurricane watches”; will be issued 48 hours in advance, rather than 36 hours.

He said a “;hurricane warning”; would be issued 36 hours before the storm is expected to reach the islands.

The former period for a hurricane warning was 24 hours.

During its 13th annual meeting on hurricane season preparedness yesterday, center officials said improvements in predicting the path of hurricanes allow for earlier warnings.

Officials said they still have difficulty predicting the intensity of a hurricane when it reaches the islands and one hurricane can wreak tremendous damage.

Hurricane Iniki, the worst storm in Hawaii history, was blamed for six deaths, damaged or destroyed 14,350 homes on Kauai and caused an estimated $3 billion in damage statewide, according to weather officials.

Officials predict a near-to-below normal hurricane season, with three to five tropical storm systems in the Central Pacific this year. But there is a 20 percent chance of an above-normal season, they said. In an average hurricane season the Central Pacific sees four to five tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Weather scientists have noticed a decrease in the number of yearly hurricanes in the Central Pacific since 1995.

State and city officials said residents should prepare a plan now for their family in the event of a hurricane, rather than wait for a warning.

“;By that time it'll be desperation instead of preparation,”; Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said.

               

     

 

2009 STORM NAMES

        Eastern Pacific

        » Andres

        » Blanca

        » Carlos

        » Dolores

        » Enrique
       

Central Pacific
        » Akoni
        » Ema
        » Hone
        » Iona
        » Keli

       

PREPARE NOW

        Disaster preparedness officials advise that residents have at least five days of supplies, including:

        » Wood to cover large glass windows

        » Bottled water and nonperishable food

        » Batteries and a portable radio

        » Cash, in case ATMs and banks are closed

        » First-aid kit

        » Medications
       

ACTIONS TO TAKE

        » Know the location of civil defense shelters

        » Remove weak tree branches

        » Remove items outside the house that could be tossed in high winds

        » Review your insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage