UPDATE: Presidential Disaster Declaration Request Approved Ahead of Lane
Gov. Ige’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the State of Hawai‘i has been approved. Word came late Wednesday afternoon that the governor’s request was granted, as Hurricane Lane approaches the Hawaiian Islands.
The declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide appropriate assistance for emergency measures required to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe.
“The approval of the Presidential Disaster Declaration means that Hawai‘i will have quick and efficient access to federal resources in the wake of Hurricane Lane, as our communities and residents recover from any damage and losses caused by the storm. We are grateful to the president and FEMA for the swift approval of our request as our state braces for the severe weather ahead,” said Gov. Ige.
Gov. David Ige formally requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration as Hurricane Lane inched toward the Hawaiian Islands on Tuesday. The declaration asks the President of the United States to declare the State of Hawai‘i a major disaster in the event that there is significant damage and losses as a result of the hurricane.
The governor held a briefing at his State Capitol offices today, to warn residents and visitors that hurricane conditions are unpredictable and to urge people to take every precaution to protect their health and safety.
“We are expecting large amounts of rain, flooding, and high winds. There will be significant impacts even if the hurricane doesn’t hit us directly,” said Gov. Ige. “FEMA, county and state emergency teams are in place and prepared, so remain calm and keep updated on the storm. Families should be prepared to shelter in place and have 14 days of food, water and supplies.”
Gov. Ige also announced the following:
PUBLIC SCHOOLS/UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I SYSTEM:
Hawai‘i public schools and the Hawai‘i Department of Education offices across the state will be closed on Thursday, Aug. 23 and Friday, Aug. 24.
All University of Hawai‘i campuses and System offices on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i will be closed Thursday through Sunday. Athletic events for Thursday and Friday are canceled. UH campuses on Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i remain closed until further notice.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:
The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) continues to make preparations in an effort to minimize the storm’s impacts to public transportation.
The state is in the process of closing commercial harbors and ensuring that ships leave the ports. Harbor notices have been sent to all vessel owners, informing them that their vessels must vacate the harbors prior to the storm unless they have written exemptions.
“This is important because the harbors are our lifeline to essentials such as food and products. We must protect the harbors and piers so that shipping operations can resume once the storm has passed,” Gov. Ige said.
In addition, the United States Coast Guard is working with state and local partners on ocean safety preparations. It will issue broadcast notices to mariners and marine safety bulletins for further instructions.
HDOT is closing or may close highways that have been susceptible to flooding and severe weather in the past. The highways include:
O‘ahu: Pali Highway, Kailua-bound lanes will be closed starting 8:00 p.m. Thursday.
Kaua‘i: Kuhio Highway on Kaua‘i’s North Shore, which will be closed on Friday. There will be no guided access connecting Hanalei to Wainiha after the 11
p.m. convoy on Thursday.
Maui: The state urges drivers to stay off of Hāna Highway, which MAY be closed.
Hawai‘i Island: The state also urges drivers to stay away from Akoni Pule Highway, which may be closed.
In addition, contraflow and Zipper Lane operations are suspended. The HDOT has also canceled all routine maintenance projects. Crews are focusing on clearing drains and canals of debris.
The state’s 15 airports and their runways will remain open and accessible, barring any infrastructure damage or debris that would make flight operations unsafe.
HAWAI‘I TOURISM AUTHORITY:
The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority urges visitors to heed hurricane-related notices and warnings from airlines, hotels and the media. Hotels are well prepared to handle a crisis.
GOVERNOR’S COORDINATOR ON HOMELESSNESS:
Outreach workers started notifying homeless campers on Tuesday, that Hurricane Lane would pose a significant threat to life and property. Workers especially focused on campers in low lying areas near streams. The Department of Land and Natural Resources and HDOT staff are assisting with outreach to homeless individuals who live on state lands.