Maui News

Public Urged to Prepare for Heavy Weather, Maui Impacts

August 3, 2015, 3:18 PM HST
* Updated August 4, 1:24 PM
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Guillermo Maui Now graphic. Background image credit: NOAA/NWS.

Guillermo Maui Now graphic. Background image credit: NOAA/NWS.

By Wendy Osher

(Update: 11 a.m. 8/4/15)

The latest track for tropical storm Guillermo pushes the system even further to the north. Guillermo continues on a northwest path at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds near 70 mph, and was last located about 390 miles east of Hilo (as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015).

The latest forecast from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center indicates that Guillermo will pass approximately 230 miles northeast of Hilo on Wednesday afternoon, and approximately 200 miles north of Maui on Wednesday night.

While this forecast track keeps the worst of the weather away from the islands, any deviation to the left of the expected track could bring tropical storm conditions to parts of Maui and the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

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(Original Post: 3:15 p.m. 8/3/15)

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Officials with the State Emergency Management Agency say the current forecast shows the potential for Tropical Storm force winds passing north of Hawaiʻi Island as early as 8 a.m., Wednesday, and impacting Maui at 3 p.m. All islands should be prepared for heavy rainfall from Wednesday through Thursday.

The Mayor’s office also issued an update saying that despite some weakening, Guillermo is still expected to bring 20 to 30 mph sustained winds along with 2 to 6 inches of rain and high surf to our islands. There is also the threat of the storm system changing directions, as other systems have done in the past.

“We must still be vigilant and prepared,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa in a press release statement. “Get your emergency kits ready, fuel your vehicles, and remove potential hazards from your property. We are still in the midst of what is likely to be an active hurricane season, so any preparations made now are certain to come in handy for storms that may arise in the near future.”

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Forecasts show that Maui County may see some storm-related weather conditions by Wednesday afternoon, with the worst of it hitting early Thursday morning, the Mayor’s announcement said.

The US Coast Guard issued an advisory this afternoon, urging the public to “use extreme caution” and “prepare for the onset of heavy weather” that could include: severe sea conditions, storm surge and high surf throughout the main Hawaiian Islands prior to the arrival of Tropical Storm Guillermo.

Visitors to Hawaiʻi were also urged to heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials.

“Although weather conditions may be good, rip tides and high surf may impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm,” according to the US Coast Guard.

“Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and currents caused by storms. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Local waters can also become contaminated due to runoff for several days following a storm,” the Coast Guard announcement stated.

Tropical Storm Warning for waters extending 40 to 240 miles. Image courtesy NWS/NOAA.

Tropical Storm Warning for waters extending 40 to 240 miles. Image courtesy NWS/NOAA.

As of 12 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Hawaiian offshore waters beyond 40 nautical miles out to 240 nautical miles, including a portion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument East of the French Frigate Shoals.

As Tropical Storm Guillermo continues to weaken and move on a northwesterly track toward the state, the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency continues to monitor the storm for potential impacts.

“Although Tropical Storm Guillermo shows signs of weakening, we strongly encourage residents and visitors to prepare themselves and their families for potential severe weather,” said Doug Mayne, Administrator of Emergency Management in a press release statement. “There is some uncertainty associated with weather forecasting, so we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

The Coast Guard issued an advisory saying they are working closely with local and state first responder agencies. “Once the storm begins to impact the islands, emergency responders may not be able to immediately assist those in danger, the Coast Guard advises. The public is urged to heed all evacuation orders. Mariners should seek safe harbor and shelter at that time,” the announcement said.

Additionally, mariners should secure their boats and boating equipment, the Coast Guard advised. “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. It may be advisable for smaller boats to be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding and is protected. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels should be secured or removed,” according to the Coast Guard announcement.

More information is available at the following links:

Mariners and beachgoers should monitor the progress and strength of the storms through the internet, local television, newspapers and radio stations. Boaters can monitor the progress of the storms on VHF channel 16, which also broadcasts  Small craft advisories and warnings.

***For today’s latest update from Maui Now Meteorologist Malika Dudley, click HERE.

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