Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 |
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Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth.
Mayor Mitch Roth signed a severe weather emergency proclamation Thursday ahead of an anticipated heavy rainfall on Hawaii Island.
The signed proclamation allows for a streamlined response and coordination of resources in the event of a disaster, according to a press release from his office.
“We signed an emergency proclamation … so that we can guarantee every resource necessary to ensure the safety of our community in the event of severe impacts from the impending storm,” Roth said in the press release.
According to the National Weather Service, the county and state are currently under a flood watch, where up to 20 inches of rainfall can be expected over the next couple of days.
The flood watch is set to remain in effect through Saturday afternoon.
The areas expected to see the most severe impacts are Ka‘u, Puna and Hilo, including areas along the Hamakua Coast to Waipi‘o Valley. West Hawaii will also be impacted.
Waipi‘o Valley Road is closed through Sunday for everyone except valley residents and farmers.
The Hele On Park &Ride in Hilo has been relocated from Kamehameha Avenue to Kuawa Street through Monday morning.
“Road crews, utilities, fire and police stand ready to address impacts caused by the anticipated weather as they occur to ensure public safety,” according to the press release. “Shelters have been identified in varying locations in the event that they become necessary.”
The press release noted that the “county has not requested the cancellation of any planned outdoor events or activities at this time but reminds residents that closures and/or cancellations may be necessary with little to no notice, pending the severity of the weather impacts.”
In addition to the flood watch, the NWS issued a high surf advisory Thursday for east-facing shores of Hawaii Island from Upolu Point in North Kohala through Cape Kumukahi in Puna to South Point in Ka‘u from 6 a.m. today through 6 p.m. Saturday.
A high surf advisory means surf will be higher than normal, and dangerous currents could cause injury or death.
Meanwhile, Hawaiian Electric said customers should be prepared for the possibility of extended power outages.
The utility provided the following tips:
— Gather emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, lanterns and batteries. Be prepared to monitor communications over emergency broadcast radio stations.
— Store enough water, non-perishable food, medicine and personal hygiene supplies for your family members and pets to last at least 14 days.
— Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electric appliances and equipment during a storm or a power outage. When power comes back and is stable, plug in the equipment one at a time.
— Shut off your electricity at the main breaker or switch if you need to evacuate.
— Consider having a backup generator if you are dependent on an electrically powered life support system. Or, make plans to go to an alternate location where electricity will be available. Be prepared to take your medical equipment and medications with you.
— If your business or residence is equipped with a backup generator, learn how to properly operate the device to avoid causing damage or injury.
— Prepare a list of emergency contacts including phone numbers for insurance agents, vendors, physicians, or any other important individuals.
— If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and dangerous. Stay away from downed power lines — at least 30 feet or more (at least two car lengths).
The public can access information in real-time on the Civil Defense Hazard Map (https://tinyurl.com/2p845968) or via the county’s mobile application, Kahea, which is available on both Android and iPhone.
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