Honolulu — Mayor Kirk Caldwell gathered directors, deputy directors and staff at the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this evening to plan for the onset of storm conditions from Hurricane Lane, as O‘ahu is now under a hurricane watch. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours.
Acting upon a recommendation by Hiro Toiya, deputy director of the Department of Emergency Management, Mayor Caldwell has decided to activate the city’s EOC at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, August 22, which will require staffing 24/7 until a decision is made to deactivate. The Department of Emergency Management is in the process of assessing sites for hurricane shelters, and a decision on when to open these shelters will be made on Wednesday, August 22. All city employees are being told to report to work until they are told otherwise.
“Hurricane Lane remains an extremely dangerous and powerful storm and even if O‘ahu avoids a direct hit, the impact from storm surge, strong winds and prolonged rainfall could be significant,” said Mayor Caldwell. “A decision on the suspension of city services like TheBus, Handi-Van and trash and bulky item pickup will be made once the Central Pacific Hurricane Center issues another update Wednesday at 8 a.m. Just as the city is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Lane, residents and visitors should be doing the same by compiling a 14-day hurricane kit, preparing their homes against wind and rain, and making sure that relatives and neighbors know what to do.”
TheBus and Handi-Van will run on regular weekday schedules on Wednesday, August 22. Meanwhile, residents should continue to place their trash collection bins and bulky items curbside until told to do otherwise.
One of the best ways to stay informed about Hurricane Lane is to download the city’s smartphone app, HNL.info, which is also available as a website. Residents and visitors can track Hurricane Lane directly by visiting the Central Pacific Hurricane Center website at: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/
Ever since the approach of another tropical cyclone, Hurricane Hector approximately two weeks ago, the Department of Facility Maintenance has been checking streams and channels for possible blockages. However, the city cannot clear debris from waterways that originate deep in O‘ahu’s valleys, and urges residents to report any illegal dumping to the Department of Facility Maintenance Clean Streams Hotline at 768-7890.
Meanwhile, the Department of Parks and Recreation wants to remind residents and visitors that if hurricane shelters were to open, they will be pet-friendly as long as animals are properly secured and don’t pose a danger to other people. Should Hurricane Lane pose a threat to O‘ahu, the Department of Transportation Services will utilize city buses to ferry residents to shelters, including those who are houseless by working closely with Office of Housing Executive Director Marc Alexander and local service providers.
The Department of Emergency Management is in communication with the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to ensure visitors are prepared. Visitors should be aware of Hurricane Lane’s approach to the Hawaiian Islands. It’s incumbent on our visitors to pay attention to warnings issued by local media and government sources, as well as keeping up to date with any announcements made by the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau and the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.
Mayor Caldwell and the city’s Department of Emergency Management urges all residents to know the following:
Take the time now to consider basic disaster preparedness and what actions you or your family will take in the event a hurricane threatens O‘ahu. Due to our isolation and large population nearing one million residents it could be many days before local disaster relief efforts reach all of those who are affected.
Individuals, families and businesses should be prepared to be on their own for at least 14 days. Assemble basic supplies such as food, water, clothing and important medications for a 14-day kit. Also, visit our website at www.honolulu.gov/DEM for more disaster preparedness information and to access downloadable information sheets.
Be aware that 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 website at www.honolulu.gov/DEM and follow the instructions on the Tsunami Map Viewer to quickly see if you are in a tsunami/hurricane evacuation zone.
Emergency Alert System (EAS):
Important official emergency information such as evacuation notification and shelter locations will be broadcast over all TV and radio stations statewide using the EAS. Should your power go out during an emergency such as a hurricane, it then becomes vitally important that each household have a battery operated radio and spare batteries on hand to receive emergency information. Newer hand-crank generators 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 O‘ahu.
Emergency and Community Information via Social Media/Online:
Like and Follow the Department of Emergency Management on Twitter at @Oahu_DEM and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OahuDEM. Additional preparedness information can also be found on our website at www.honolulu.gov/DEM. Residents are also urged to follow Mayor Caldwell’s social media channels at: Twitter: @MayorKirkHNL; Facebook: facebook.com/MayorKirk; Instagram: instagram.com/mayorkirkhnl; and YouTube: youtube.com/MayorKirkHNL.
Emergency Email and Text Message Alerts:
O‘ahu residents are encouraged to sign-up to receive emergency email, cellphone text messages and push alerts from the City and County of Honolulu by downloading the free HNL.info app from the App Store or Google Play. You can also register online at https://hnl.info/alerts/login.php. HNL.info is also perfect for vacationers and out of town family or guests. Standard text messaging rates may apply depending on your wireless carrier and plan.
Preparing your home:
• Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
• Be prepared to bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
• Be prepared to cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
Check insurance policies:
Remember that homeowners insurance alone will not cover hurricane damage. You will need separate policies for hurricane as well as flood insurance to protect against damage from coastal flooding. You can buy flood insurance separately through the National Flood Insurance Program. Make sure to check and know what your existing insurance policies will or will not cover.
Non-English Speakers and Disabled:
If you have a family member who does not speak English or a family member who, due to a disability cannot receive emergency information readily, we highly recommend forming a core group of family or friends who can assist with translations or providing important emergency information as well as assisting with disaster preparedness actions and if needed, evacuation
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.