Felicia's approach has residents on alert


POSTED: Thursday, August 06, 2009

From the Big Island to Kauai, residents are beginning to buy emergency items as Hurricane Felicia strengthens and moves northwest and closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

“;We always get it when it storms,”; said Christy Kiyan, the store manager at Pioneer Ace Hardware in Laie.

Kiyan said some people have been buying batteries, flashlights and mantles or wicks for lanterns but activity hasn't been heavy.

“;Nobody's really wound up yet ... Everybody's staying tuned to their radios.”;

The National Weather Service said yesterday afternoon that Felicia had grown into a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph and moving at 12 mph but was expected to weaken as it nears Hawaii and travels north into colder waters.

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The hurricane was about 1,650 miles east southeast of Hilo as of yesterday evening.

Still, storms are expected in Hawaiian waters with high surf for eastern facing shores, building on Sunday and peaking on Monday, said Derek Wroe, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service.

“;It looks like that at this point but, again, it's subject to uncertainty,”; Wroe said.

Surf could reach 15-foot faces off the eastern shore, he said, and the tropical system could produce a tremendous amount of rainfall and threaten various areas.

“;It won't be specific to any area ... It could be anywhere,”; he said.

Alex Cabulisan, floor manager at Island Ace Hardware in Princeville on Kauai, said some people have been buying tarpaulins, flashlights, batteries, propane tanks, candles, tire patches, and bottled water.

“;Right now, there are a lot of customers coming here. They're talking about it already,”; he said.

In Hilo on the Big island, Wal-Mart co-manager Derek Gagne said he's seen sales increase on some items, such as flashlights, and expects sales to rise as the storm nears.

Gagne said the store was prepared in the event of an increase in demand and was expecting a large shipment of items later this week, including propane tanks and bottled water.

State Civil Defense spokesman Ray Lovell said people should assemble items that they can take to a shelter and have a stock of food items at home, such as canned goods that don't require cooking.

“;Think how you're going to live if you don't have electricity,”; he said.

Lovell said a family's plan should also include how to contact each other in the event of an emergency.

He said state Civil Defense officials have had conference calls daily with the National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Guard to find out where various groups are in their planning for Felicia.

Lovell said the state will probably add staff to Civil Defense this weekend although there is a possibility the hurricane could weaken by then.

Historically, he said, August is the busiest month for storms in the Central Pacific but the two major hurricanes to affect Hawaii came in later months—Hurricane Iniki in September 1992 and Iwa in November 1982.





        The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign offers this checklist for compiling an emergency supply kit:

        1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
        At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
        Can opener
        Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
        Infant formula and/or pet food, if needed


        Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person in the household
        Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes for each person


        Personal hygiene items, such as toothbrushes, toilet paper and feminine hygiene supplies
        Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
        Extra batteries
        First-aid kit
        Whistle to signal for help
        Dust mask to filter contaminated air
        Plastic sheeting and duct tape to make a shelter
        Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties
        Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
        Local maps
        Fire extinguisher
        Matches in a waterproof container
        Paper and pencil


        Prescription medications and glasses
        Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank records in waterproof, portable container
        Cash or traveler's checks and change
        Emergency reference material such as a first-aid guide or information from http://www.ready.gov
        Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (make a disinfectant from 9 parts water to 1 part bleach; or treat water by using 16 drops bleach per gallon of water). Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
        Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children