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City officials urge vigilance as storms churn in Pacific


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POSTED: Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Honolulu emergency management officials are encouraging residents to keep an eye on the forecasts of two storms in the Pacific, and to begin discussing hurricane preparedness with family, friends and co-workers in case Hawaii is threatened.

Current forecasts have Hurricane Felicia weakening to a tropical storm as it approaches the Big Island early next week, while Tropical Storm Enrique further east is expected to dissipate by the weekend.

“We have been in conference with the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center and they have informed us that these systems could pass harmlessly to our south or they could track towards Hawaii causing problems beginning as early as next week,” Melvin Kaku, director for the city’s Department of Emergency Management, said today. “Due to the unpredictability of hurricanes and tropical storms all residents should closely monitor Felicia and Enrique through the weekend and take the time now to discuss hurricane preparedness actions and disaster preparedness plans.”

A department news release urges residents to know the following:

>> Emergency Alert System: Important official emergency information such as evacuation notification and shelter locations will be broadcast over all TV and radio stations Statewide using the EAS. Each household should have a battery operated radio and spare batteries to receive emergency notifications in case of a power outage. Newer hand-crank generator or solar powered radios are also a good option. EAS broadcasts for major coastal evacuations will be aired in conjunction with a three-minute sounding of all Outdoor Siren Warning Systems on Oahu.

>> Hurricanes and tropical storms: Once a storm system crosses the 140 degree west longitude mark, it enters the Central Pacific area and would be in “Hawaiian” waters. Carefully monitor any hurricanes or tropical storms that develop or enter into Hawaiian waters until they safely pass our islands or dissipate.

>> Disaster preparedness: Take the time now to consider basic disaster preparedness and what actions you or your family will take in the event a hurricane threatens. Individuals, families and businesses should be prepared to be on their own for at least five to seven days. Assemble basic supplies such as food, water, clothing and important medications.

>> Evacuation zones: If you live on the shoreline or near the ocean you may have to evacuate due to the hazard of hurricane produced storm surge. Review coastal evacuation maps in your telephone white pages or visit our web site at http://www.oahuDEM.org and follow the instructions on the Tsunami Map Viewer to see if you are in a tsunami/hurricane evacuation zone.

 Honolulu emergency management officials are encouraging residents to keep an eye on the forecasts of two storms in the Pacific, and to begin discussing hurricane preparedness with family, friends and co-workers in case Hawaii is threatened.

Current forecasts have Hurricane Felicia weakening to a tropical storm as it approaches the Big Island early next week, while Tropical Storm Enrique further east is expected to dissipate by the weekend.

“We have been in conference with the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center and they have informed us that these systems could pass harmlessly to our south or they could track towards Hawaii causing problems beginning as early as next week,” Melvin Kaku, director for the city’s Department of Emergency Management, said today. “Due to the unpredictability of hurricanes and tropical storms all residents should closely monitor Felicia and Enrique through the weekend and take the time now to discuss hurricane preparedness actions and disaster preparedness plans”.

A department news release urges residents to know the following:

>> Emergency Alert System: Important official emergency information such as evacuation notification and shelter locations will be broadcast over all TV and radio stations Statewide using the EAS. Each household should have a battery operated radio and spare batteries to receive emergency notifications in case of a power outage. Newer hand-crank generator or solar powered radios are also a good option. EAS broadcasts for major coastal evacuations will be aired in conjunction with a three-minute sounding of all Outdoor Siren Warning Systems on Oahu.

>> Hurricanes and tropical storms: Once a storm system crosses the 140 degree west longitude mark, it enters the Central Pacific area and would be in “Hawaiian” waters. Carefully monitor any hurricanes or tropical storms that develop or enter into Hawaiian waters until they safely pass our islands or dissipate.

>> Disaster preparedness: Take the time now to consider basic disaster preparedness and what actions you or your family will take in the event a hurricane threatens. Individuals, families and businesses should be prepared to be on their own for at least five to seven days. Assemble basic supplies such as food, water, clothing and important medications.

>> Evacuation zones: If you live on the shoreline or near the ocean you may have to evacuate due to the hazard of hurricane produced storm surge. Review coastal evacuation maps in your telephone white pages or visit our web site at http://www.oahuDEM.org and follow the instructions on the Tsunami Map Viewer to see if you are in a tsunami/hurricane evacuation zone.