Hector Coordination Continues Between Emergency Management Partners

August 7, 2018, 12:32 PM HST · Updated August 7, 12:41 PM
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Honolulu Mayor Caldwell leads briefing about Hurricane Hector at city EOC.

Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, local emergency management and civil defense agencies, and federal and state partners continued coordination efforts with the National Weather Service for Hurricane Hector.

Coordination efforts included a briefing from NWS on expected impacts and track of Hector and discussion of current and planned actions by the local and state emergency management agencies.

The NWS said as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the center of Hector, which is still measuring as a Category 4 Hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 113 – 136 mph), is 495 miles southeast of Hilo moving west at 16 mph. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Hawaiʻi County.

Surf along east facing shores is already building and will peak later today and tonight, at 12 to 15 feet for the Big Island and 6 – 10 feet for Maui County. Hector is expected to pass approximately 165 miles south on Wednesday,

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Hawaiʻi residents and visitors are asked to take the following precautions:

  • Continue to follow local reports for the latest information on Hector
  • Be aware of flood safety recommendations, tips can be found at floodsmart.gov
  • Listen to ocean safety officials and exercise caution if entering the water as high surf messages are issued

On O‘ahu, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell led a third briefing in the past five days on Hurricane Hector with the directors and staff of various departments and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center at the city’s Emergency Operations Center. Mayor Caldwell is asking O‘ahu residents and visitors to remain vigilant as the powerful storm is expected to pass less than 200 miles south of Hawai‘i island

“Although Hurricane Hector is expected to pass south of our state, O‘ahu residents and visitors need to know that even a slight deviation to a more northerly course could cause major impacts,” said Mayor Caldwell. “As Hurricane Hector passes the Hawaiian Islands later tonight, we stand ready to respond should the situation change and ask everyone to remain vigilant.”

The Hurricane Hector forecast by the National Weather Service has remained fairly consistent. This provides a degree of confidence that the current track will hold, however it’s important for residents to stay alert. Another briefing will be held at the city’s EOC today, Tuesday afternoon at 5 p.m.

Ahead of Hurricane Hector’s approach the Department of Facility Maintenance has been checking streams and channels for possible blockages, including boulder basins that help catch large debris and sediment during heavy rain events. However, the city cannot clear debris from waterways that originate high in O‘ahu’s valleys, and urges residents to report any illegal dumping to the Department of Facility Maintenance Streams Hotline at 768-7890.

Meanwhile, the Department of Parks and Recreation wants to remind residents and visitors that if hurricane shelters were to open, they will be pet-friendly as long as animals are properly secured and don’t pose a danger to other people. Should Hurricane Hector pose a threat to O‘ahu, the Department of Transportation Services will utilize city buses to ferry residents to shelters, including those who are houseless by working closely with Office of Housing Executive Director Marc Alexander and local service providers.

The Department of Emergency Management is also in communication with the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to ensure visitors are prepared. While visitors should not cancel their plans, they should be aware of Hurricane Hector’s approach to the Hawaiian Islands. It’s incumbent on our visitors to pay attention to warnings issued by local media and government sources, as well as keeping up to date with any announcements made by the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau and the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.

Mayor Caldwell and the city’s Department of Emergency Management urges all residents to know the following:

Disaster Preparedness:

Take the time now to consider basic disaster preparedness and what actions you or your family will take in the event a hurricane threatens O‘ahu. Due to our isolation and large population nearing one million residents it could be many days before local disaster relief efforts reach all of those who are affected.

Individuals, families and businesses should be prepared to be on their own for at least 14-days. Assemble basic supplies such as food, water, clothing and important medications for a 14-day kit.

Evacuation Zones:

Be aware that if you live on the shoreline or near the ocean you may have to evacuate due to the hazard of hurricane produced storm surge. Review coastal evacuation maps in your telephone white pages.

Emergency Alert System (EAS):

Important official emergency information such as evacuation notification and shelter locations will be broadcast over all TV and radio stations statewide using the EAS. Should your power go out during an emergency such as a hurricane, it then becomes vitally important that each household have a battery operated radio and spare batteries on hand to receive emergency information. Newer hand-crank generator or solar powered radios are also a good option. EAS broadcasts for major coastal evacuations will be aired in conjunction with a three-minute sounding of all Outdoor Siren Warning Systems on O‘ahu.

Preparing your home:

  • Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
  • Be prepared to bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • Be prepared to cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

Check insurance policies:

Remember that homeowners insurance alone will not cover hurricane damage.  You will need separate policies for hurricane as well as flood insurance to protect against damage from coastal flooding. You can buy flood insurance separately through the National Flood Insurance Program.  Make sure to check and know what your existing insurance policies will or will not cover.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms:

Once a storm system crosses the 140-degree west longitude mark, it enters the Central Pacific area and would be in “Hawaiian” waters. Carefully monitor any hurricanes or tropical storms that develop or enter into Hawaiian waters until they safely pass our islands or dissipate.

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