Maui News

Emergency Management Agency Urges Preparedness as Kona Low Impacts Hawai‘i

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PC: NOAA/NWS Kona Low approaches the state. Satellite imagery 12.5.21 6:54 a.m.

A “Kona Low” weather system will be impacting the Hawaiian islands and could bring as much as 25 inches of rain, along with flash floods, damaging winds and landslides to parts of the State, the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency advised.

Rainfall on Friday and Saturday already has damaged roads and caused localized flooding, and the same weather system has driven high winds and surf, along with snow at high elevations. HI-EMA reports that conditions are expected to worsen beginning this afternoon, with effects lasting for several days this week.

The National Weather Service says: “Periods of extremely heavy rainfall are expected as a Kona Low develops west of Kauaʻi, and pulls deep moisture over the islands. A slow-moving band of heavy rain is expected to move over the Big Island and Maui County today, spreading to Oʻahu and Kauaʻi County tonight and Monday. Widespread rainfall total amounts of 10 to 15 inches are anticipated, with isolated areas of 20 to 25 inches possible.”

A Flood Watch remains in effect through Tuesday afternoon. There is also a Blizzard Warning in effect for the summits of the Big Island until 6 a.m. on Monday, with additional snow accumulations of up to 8 inches and winds gusting as high as 125 mph, according to the NWS.

HI-EMA is monitoring the effects of the weather and coordinating with county, state, federal, and private sector partners to assist as needed. The agency provided the following tips for the public:

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Floods are one of the most common hazards in Hawai’i

  • During heavy rains, or human-made structure failures such as a dam breach, flash flooding can occur quickly and without warning.
  • Be prepared to evacuate and move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to act.
  • Do not cross fast-flowing water in your vehicle or on foot – Turn around, do not drown!
  • Contact your property/casualty agent or broker about flood insurance, which is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program.
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Make a Plan

  • Plan escape routes – ensure all family members know where to go and how to get out.
  • Meeting place – choose a physical location to meet if communication between family members is down.
  • Family communication – identify a family member who lives out-of-state who everyone can notify when they are safe.

Pack a 14-day ‘Go-Kit’ for your family

  • Change of clothes and sturdy shoes
  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Face coverings, gloves, and sanitizer
  • First aid kit
  • Battery-powered or crank-powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Manual can opener
  • Hygiene supplies
  • Whistle
  • Important documents

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