PUBLIC URGED TO BE PREPARED FOR HIGH WINDS & ADVISORY WEATHER

January 15, 2009, 9:49 AM HST · Updated January 15, 10:53 AM
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Wind Advisory for Haleakala/ Wind Warning for Big Island Summits

Strong winds are expected today with a high wind advisory already in effect for the Summit of Haleakala on Maui and a wind warning in effect for higher elevations on the Big Island.  The large low pressure system is producing strong winds that will likely continue through tonight and into Friday when a cold front finally crosses the islands.  West winds across the Big Island summits are expected to be blow at up to 55 mph with 75 mph gusts.  West winds across the summit of Haleakala will be 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph.  Tonight, gusty southwest winds will increase on Kauai and Oahu as a strong cold front approaches from the northwest.  The winds will be strongest ahead of and along the front which will sweep across Kauai Friday morning and Oahu mid day Friday.  The main areas of concern will be over the high terrain and communities to the north and east of the high terrain, which are prone to gusty down-slope winds. 

High Surf Warning

On the water, a large northwest swell peaked overnight, but high surf is expected to continue into the weekend with warnings still in effect for the north and west facing shores of most islands.   Surf on the north shores will be in the 20-30 foot range today, lowering to 18 to 23 feet on Friday.  Surf along west facing shores of the smaller islands except Lanai will be 15 to 22 feet today, lowering to 10 to 15 feet Friday.  Surf along West facing shores of the Big Island will be 10 to 15 today through Friday Morning, lowering to 6 to 10 feet Friday afternoon.  A high surf warning indicates that large, dangerous waves will batter the shoreline and produce deadly rip currents.  Beachgoers are advised to stay well away from the shoreline.

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Meco Reminds The Public To Be Prepared

In preparation for the high winds forecasted, Maui Electric Company has provided some tips to keep the public prepared.

During the storm:

  • Turn off and unplug unnecessary equipment around the home and office, especially sensitive electronics like computers.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their highest settings to keep food cold for a longer length of time should the power go out.

If your power goes out:

  • If you plan to use a portable generator, make sure it is in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. Don’t plug the generator directly to your household electrical outlets; this can cause power to flow back into power lines causing a safety hazard. Instead, plug appliances directly into the generator using heavy-duty extension cords.
  • Use flashlights instead of candles or kerosene lamps which can pose a fire risk.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible and food will stay fresh longer.
  • Leave one light on so you’ll know when your power returns.
  • Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires and assume every wire is still energized and dangerous. Stay clear of puddles where downed lines may have landed. Call the Maui Electric Trouble Line at 871-7777, or call 911 for immediate emergency help.
  • If a power line has fallen on a car that you are in, stay inside the car if possible and wait for help. If you can, try to break contact with the line by driving the car away from it. If you need to get out of the car right away because of some other pending danger like fire, jump so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground.
  • Listen to the radio for emergency information and updates on the power situation.

For more information on emergency preparedness, go to www.mauielectric.com and click on the `Safety and Emergency’ tab. Or, stop by MECO’s Kahului office to pick up a copy of: Handbook for Emergency Preparedness.

(Posted by Wendy Osher:  Thursday, January 15, 2009)

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