Isle residents prepare for Felicia


POSTED: Friday, August 07, 2009

Preparation for Hurricane Felicia has boosted sales of emergency items this week at stores statewide, including tarps, flashlights and bottled water.

Menehune Water Co. sales director Joe Hartzman said yesterday that according to reports from his Kauai and Maui offices, orders of bottled water have doubled.

“;People are preparing sooner than later,”; he said.

Hartzman said there has not been a major hurricane in 17 years, but people are aware of the magnitude of Felicia.

“;This one is a pretty good size. It's big,”; he said.

Elise Kama, a junior at the University of Hawaii, shopped at City Mill Home Improvement Center in Kaimuki and bought a hand-crank radio and cell phone charger in preparation of Felicia.

“;I live alone, so I want to prepare myself for it,”; Kama said.

Felicia's sustained winds decreased slightly to 135 from 140 mph, and its movement to the west northwest was 12 mph, but it still remained a Category 4 hurricane last night.

;[Preview]  Big Island residents stock up for storm

Shoppers buy items to ready themselves for Felicia.

Watch ]


The National Weather Service predicts Felicia's wind speed will slow once it travels farther north into cooler waters and moves closer to Hawaii.

Felicia was less than 1,400 miles east southeast of Hilo yesterday.

Eastern shores of the Hawaiian Islands are expected to see rising surf by Sunday as Felicia nears Hawaii.

National Weather Service forecasters said that even if Felicia slows into a tropical storm, it could have a significant impact on the islands, including the potential for heavy rainfall and flooding.

“;When you get a system like this, it doesn't matter what form it takes,”; said Weather Service lead forecaster Derek Wroe. “;Any system like this brings heavy rain if it moves across the Hawaiian Islands.”;

City Mill Home Improvements Centers have been busy selling emergency items, said Vice President Carol Ai.

Ai said the stores have been selling a lot of tarpaulins, duct tape, batteries, flashlights, lanterns, propane and the less expensive generators—and have more in stock coming to their locations.

“;We're pretty much in stock. ... We haven't run out of anything that's really essential,”; she said.

City Mill supervisor Devin Kajiwara said he has sold more than 100 gallons of propane and that the tarpaulins were “;flying off the shelf.”;

Kajiwara said sales celebrating City Mill's 110th anniversary coincided with Felicia.

“;There were lines and lines of people. The sales came at a good time,”; he said.

Hawaiian Isles Water Co. sales manager Patrick Meyer said a lot of retailers are calling and asking for more inventory.

“;We're working hard to get that inventory to them,”; Meyer said. “;People in Hawaii know it's better to be safe than sorry.”;