Maui County Makes Preparations Ahead of Storm
By Wendy Osher
County officials this afternoon announced they plan to close Maui County parks and campgrounds due to the anticipated impacts of Tropical Storm Ana.
All Maui County parks and recreational facilities will close beginning on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014; and county campgrounds will close starting on Friday, Oct. 17. County officials say any permits for camping that were issued for Friday and Saturday nights have since been cancelled.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources also announced that all state forest managed lands on Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi were closed today (Thursday, Oct. 16), until further notice, including forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, Nā Ala Hele hiking trails, and game management areas.
All State Parks on Hawaiʻi island, Maui and Molokaʻi will be closed on Friday, Oct. 17, until further notice. DLNR officials say campers in remote coastal areas have been notified to leave. Also on Friday, state small boat harbors on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui will be closed at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, until further notice.
Communications Specialist, Lois Whitney from the Mayor’s office issued a press release on Thursday afternoon saying the reopening of parks and facilities will depend on impacts of the storm that could include storm surge, high surf, heavy rains, and flooding.
A full list of closures, cancellations and postponed events for Maui County is available at the following direct LINK, which is updated regularly.
The county has yet to release information on shelter locations, which authorities say will be announced “as needed.”
Forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center say tropical storm Ana continues to maintain its strength as a tropical storm and is forecast to pass about 80 miles SW of the Big Island late Friday night and Saturday.
The system is expected to gradually intensify into Friday, briefly reaching hurricane intensity Friday night before starting to weaken again.
“Even if Ana passes through as a Tropical Storm, Maui County may still experience high surf, heavy rains and strong winds. Coastal flooding is also possible as high surf begins to rise along leeward coastal waters,” said Whitney in the press release.
County officials issued the following reminder to residents, urging them to take precautions ahead of the storm by:
- Securing loose objects in your yard and around your home that could potentially turn into flying debris.
- Stocking up on food, water and medicine. The new recommendation by state emergency management officials is to have seven days of supplies on hand.
- Boarding up or covering windows if needed.
- Bringing your disaster kit with you should you need to evacuate to a designated shelter.
- Fueling your vehicles.
- Securely mooring or moving boats to a designated safe area well before the storm hits.
- Continuing to monitor the news for storm updates from the weather service and Maui County.