By Wendy Osher
The port of Kahului will be closed to all traffic starting at midnight on Sunday, July 28, 2013, in anticipation of Tropical Storm Flossie, officials with the US Coast Guard announced. In addition to Kahului Harbor, the ports of Hilo and Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi will also be closed to traffic, officials said.
According to the US Coast Guard, all cargo operations in these ports will be secured by 6 a.m. Monday, July 29, 2013.
Captain Shannon Gilreath, issued a statement urging local mariners to review their heavy weather plans and remain vigilant to forecasts.
“While we have not set conditions for the other ports, you should still exercise caution and prudence in conducting your operations,” said Gilreath in an agency press release. “Know your capabilities and your constraints and adhere to them so that we can all continue to operate safely,” he said.
The Coast Guard is urging mariners and residents make preparations now, ahead of the storm. The agency issued the following guidelines:
- Stay informed: Mariners should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through newspapers, the internet and local television and radio stations. Boaters can monitor the storm’s progress on VHF channel 16. Small craft advisories and warnings are also broadcast on VHF channel 16.
- Evacuate as necessary: Mariners are urged to heed evacuation orders. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to assist mariners in danger during a storm. If you cannot evacuate, ensure that your vessel has proper communication equipment, an electronic position indicating radio beacon, flares and lifesaving equipment that is in good working order and navigate your vessel to a harbor of safe refuge.
- Secure your boats and boating equipment: Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those mariners who leave their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and tenders.
- Be cautious of hazardous materials: If you have hazardous materials on or near the water, you are responsible for any spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure these materials prior to any foul weather.
- Stay clear of beaches: Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by storms. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe.
The National Weather Service advises that dangerously large surf will begin to impact east facing shores as early as tonight with the largest surf expected on Monday into Tuesday.
The public is advised to be aware that large surf can cause coastal road closures even before the storm arrives.
***Supporting information courtesy US Coast Guard.