Maui News

STORM FORCES CLOSURES AND CANCELLATIONS COUNTY WIDE: Updated 5:45 p.m. 1/16/09

January 16, 2009, 4:23 PM HST
* Updated January 19, 12:32 PM
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COUNTY OF MAUI UPDATE ON WEATHER-RELATED CLOSURES, INCIDENTS

The Central Maui Landfill is expected to reopen tomorrow (Saturday, January 17, 2009) for normal hours of operation, and Parks staff will report for work tomorrow to assess facilities that can be opened. According to Department of Parks and Recreation Director Tamara Horcajo, it is expected that swimming pools, campgrounds, Waiehu Golf Course and parks that were closed today will need time for safety assessment and cleanup.  Notification on the reopening of parks and facilities will be made as soon as the safety assessments and clean-up operations are completed.

As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, January 16, the following facilities remained closed:

  • County swimming pools and campgrounds
  • Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens in Iao Valley
  • Waiehu Golf Course
  • Kalepolepo Beach Park
  • Additionally,  Kanaha Beach Park was closed at 9:20 a.m.;
  • Lanai Gymnasium was closed at 9:30 a.m.; and
  • Kaunakakai Gymnasium on Molokai was closed at 8 a.m. due to a roof leak.

The Parks Aquatics Division reported that Ocean Safety Officers responded to two incidents today, one at Waiehu Beach Park involving two windsurfers that requested assistance returning to shore. A County Ocean Safety Officer on jet ski responded to the area; however, the windsurfers made it back on to shore on their own. At Hanakaoo Beach Park a 20-foot sailboat that had drifted off a broken mooring requested assistance. An Ocean Safety Officer on jet ski  helped tow the boat back to its mooring at Mala Wharf, assisted by an individual on a private jet ski. 

In the South district, Ocean Safety Officers assisted with four rescue incidents, three at Kamaole I and one at Kamaole II. No injuries were reported; surf was estimated to be 4-5 feet with large shorebreak.

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Public Works crews cleared debris and downed trees from roadways. County water and wastewater operations were reported to be functioning normally.

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ALL MAUI COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS CLOSED FRIDAY JAN. 16, 2009

by Wendy OSHER

The possibility of inclement weather caused by a large low pressure system and cold front passing through the state, has prompted a number of closures and cancellations throughout the Maui County. As a precaution, the Department of Education has closed all public schools on all islands except for the Big Island of Hawaii for Friday January 16th. Maui County closures include:

  • all public schools in Maui County,
  • the Maui Community College Campus in Kahului, as well as a long list of private schools who have notified us of their Friday closure. That list includes:
  • St. Anthony School-all grades
  • Kamehameha School’s Pukalani Campus,
  • Emmanuel Lutheran,
  • Kihei Baptist Preschool,
  • MEO’s Head Start Center,
  • Iao Preschool, the Infant Toddler Center-Kahi Kamalii-at MEO,
  • Kamaaina Kids-for preschool, infants and toddlers,
  • Wailuku Union Preschool,
  • Kihei Clubhouse Preschool,
  • Holy Innocence Preschool in Lahiana and
  • Kaahumanu Hou-all grades.
  • Christ the King School and Preschool
  • Seabury Hall
  • Dorris Todd Christian School in Paia
  • Montesori School on Baldwin Avenue in Makawao
  • Kamehameha preschools including…Hana, Molokai, Maui campus, Upcountry, and Paukukalo
  • Haleakala Waldorff School
  • Catholic schools on Maui
  • Children of the Rainbow Preschool
  • Maui Prep Academy
  • Kanscha Preschool
  • Charter schools on Molokai and Maui are closed as well.
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Because administrative leave was been granted for state workers, the DOE State office and District office employees SHOULD NOT report to work on Friday, January 16th.

STATE WORKERS GRANTED ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE

The governor has granted administrative leave for state employees including those in Maui County as well as workers on Kauai, and Oahu. The administrative leave is granted for all Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Lanai employees of the state EXCEPT:

  • Civil Defense Coordinators,
  • Disaster Response Workers, and
  • Essential Workers

COUNTY NON-ESSENTIAL WORKERS RELEASED FROM WORK FOR FRIDAY

The county of Maui has released all non-essential employees from reporting to work on Friday.

“We are carefully monitoring the situation and want to be sure that everyone is safe, including the families of our employees. The level of severity that forecasters are predicting should be taken seriously. While we hope that the impact won’t be as severe as expected, it is important to take precautionary steps now,” said County of Maui Managing Director Sheri Morrison, who is serving as Acting Mayor. Mayor Charmaine Tavares is attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington D.C.

COUNTY CLOSURES, SERVICE CANCELLATIONS

Because of the threat of inclement weather, the county has cancelled a variety of services and closed a number of facilities.

COUNTY CANCELLATIONS FOR FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2009:

  • Maui County Council’s regular meeting scheduled for 9:00 am has been cancelled.
  • The 2:00 p.m. meeting of the County of Maui Affirmative Action Advisory Council has been cancelled
  • All residential refuse collection scheduled for pick-up on Friday, on Maui, Molokai and Lanai has been cancelled. Residents are advised to not to leave their trash cans and automated carts on the curb until the expected high winds end and to place them in a secure place to protect them from blowing onto the street.
  • Kaunoa Senior Center’s Meals-on-Wheels delivery services is cancelled
  • Kaunoa Senior Center’s Assisted transportation services are cancelled

ADDITIONAL BUSINESS CLOSURES:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs in Maui County are closed
  • Calasa Service Station Upcountry is closed

COUNTY CLOSURES:

  • Kalana O Maui, the County building on High Street in Wailuku, will be closed Friday, January 16, 2009 except for access by essential County of Maui employees.
  • All landfills on Maui, Molokai and Lanai
  • The Customer Service Center at the Maui Mall and all Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing (DMVL) satellite offices are closed
  • All MEO Offices will be closed with the exception of Dialysis Transportation.
  • All Kaunoa Senior Center programs and services
  • All senior centers on Maui, Molokai and Lanai
  • All Congregrate Nutrition Sites
  • All County of Maui swimming pools
  • Waiehu Golf Course
  • Kepaniwai Park
  • Kalepolepo Beach Park
  • 4th Marine Park
  • All County of Maui campgrounds

EVENTS CANCELLED FOR FRIDAY JANUARY 16, 2009:

  • All County of Maui programs sponsored by the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation

EVENTS CANCELLED FOR SATURDAY, JANUARY 17, 2009:

  • MIL REGATTA CANCELLED:  Due to uncertain ocean and weather conditions, the MIL has cancelled its High School Paddling regatta that was set for Saturday in Kihei at Kalae Pohaku Park.  The event will not be rescheduled.   The next scheduled event is on the 24th in Lahaina.

NOT AFFECTED:

  • Public bus schedules

NOTE:

  • Any impact to scheduled Saturday events including the Wailuku Winter Junior Sectional Tennis Tournament, Maui Expo baseball clinic, and the MIL high school canoe regatta will be announced Friday after the current weather conditions are assessed.

KULA FOREST RESERVE & POLIPOLI SPRINGS STATE PARK CLOSED

STATE PARKS CLOSED IN MAUI COUNTY ARE:

  • Makena State Park
  • `Iao Valley State Park
  • Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area
  • parking area to `Ahihi-Kina`u Natural Area Reserve
  • Pala`au State Park on Moloka`i
  • Kula Forest Reserve
  • Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area

Additional Closures imposed by the state include the closure of the Kula State Forest Reserve and the Polipoli Springs State Park.

“We are closing this mountain forest reserve to protect public’s safety since high winds could case trees to fall, block the access road and pose a risk to anyone in the forest. Following the storm, an assessment will be made and any necessary clearing work of downed trees will begin,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

DLNR Enforcement officers will assist State Forestry crews to notify area users today that they should leave the area. DLNR will issue a news update when these areas are reopened to the public.

HIGH WINDS EXPECTED, LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL POSSIBLE

There is currently a High wind Warning in effect for Kauai, Niihau, Oahu and Molokai until 6 o’clock Friday night, and a Wind Advisory for Maui and Lanai. The highest winds are expected Friday, along with the possibility of locally heavy rainfall. The director of state Civil Defense is urging residents to prepare for the possibility of wind damage, flooding and the loss of electricity.

The winds will be strongest ahead of and along the Front which will sweep across Kauai Friday morning…Oahu mid day…and Molokai Friday afternoon. The main areas of concern will be over the mountains and communities to the north and east of the mountains which are prone to gusty down slope winds. Winds will decrease rapidly after the front moves through. In addition…strong winds will persist across the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island and across Haleakala on Maui.

A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

In anticipation of severe weather with winds reaching gusts of 50 MPH or higher on Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe, residents and visitors are advised to exercise caution. The County of Maui’s Civil Defense Agency will continue to monitor the situation.

Driving can be difficult in these strong winds, especially for high-profile vehicles. Loose objects that may become airborne should be secured or moved indoors. The strongest winds are expected over the mountains and across communities north and east of mountains.

Motorists are cautioned that in the event of localized blackouts, traffic lights may be affected. Drivers should use extra care when traveling through intersections where traffic lights are inoperable due to a power outage. Motorists should come to a complete stop and treat it as a 4-way stop intersection.

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