‘Calvin’ response assessed; public reminded that Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30
Governor Josh Green, M.D., praised Hawai‘i’s handling of former Tropical Storm Calvin and cautioned that the storm was just the first challenge in a hurricane season that lasts through November.
There is a 50% chance of above-normal tropical cyclone activity during the Central Pacific hurricane season this year, according to an outlook released earlier from NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. For the 2023 season, the Center predicts 4 to 7 tropical cyclones for the Central Pacific hurricane region.
“Thankfully, Calvin did not cause significant damage, but it’s a reminder for us to be prepared,” Governor Green said during a news conference, Wednesday afternoon. He stressed that the state recommends that all residents should be “2 Weeks Ready” for an emergency, with a stockpile of water, food, medicine, and other necessary supplies that could last up to 14 days.
The leading edge of Calvin struck Hawai‘i island late Tuesday with heavy rains and 50 mph winds and stronger gusts.
The storm originally was expected to pass over most of the major islands, but it gradually shifted to the south and mainly caused localized flooding and minor wind damage over the southeast portions of the Big Island. By midday Wednesday it was moving off to the west and winds had dropped below tropical storm strength, or 40 mph.
“During the overnight hours this (Wednesday) morning, [Calvin] lost all its deep thunderstorms that help define a tropical cyclone,” said John Bravender, NOAA Warning Coordination Meteorologist. During the mid-day briefing, he said strong winds would linger for another 12-24 hours.
The Governor thanked the local, state, federal and private sector partners who worked together to prepare for the storm and respond to its impacts, from the US military and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the Hawai‘i Red Cross and its volunteers.
“This provided the whole community an opportunity to practice for the next potential emergency,” Gov. Green said. “As a new administration, it was gratifying for us to see how well all the parts of our state’s response system were able to work together, because that’s what it will take when a more serious storm hits.”
Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth also praised the efforts of all the partners that took part in the emergency management effort, singling out the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency, which worked days in advance and through the night to prepare for impacts and manage response efforts. “This has been a tremendous team effort,” he said.
The State Adjutant General, Major General Kenneth Hara, expressed his gratitude to leadership and members of the Hawaiʻi National Guard for preparations made in support of the islands. “Planning and preparing for our response was challenging because more than 1,700 soldiers, a few airmen, and their equipment from the Guard are currently deployed to Fort Johnson, Louisiana, participating in a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation,” but several alternatives were available, he said. The Guard members will return in mid-August.
“Everyone stepped up, got ready, and thank goodness we didn’t have to exercise any of those plans, but it was a good test,” said James Barros, Administrator of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency. “In the response phase (of an emergency), it’s going to be the whole of the community that gets us through,” Barros said.