(ABOVE) The churning Hurricane Iselle as seen on August 4 by way of the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite, Image Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
HILO, Hawaii – As Iselle bears down on Hawaii Island (and Julio in her wake), there has been a steady stream of media releases announcing closures, delays and cancellations. This page will attempt to sort out the chaos, starting at the county level and moving up to federal.
Hawai‘i County offices will close at noon (Thursday), August 7, and remain closed all day Friday, August 8, because of expected weather impacts from Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio.
Essential employees whose work involves continuing crucial operations and services will remain on the job. These employees have been identified by their departments and are required to report to work.
Absentee walk-in voting will continue at four sites in Hawai‘i County from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. Those voting sites are Aupuni Center in Hilo, the West Hawai‘i Civic Center, Waimea Community Center and Pahala Community Center.
To provide for everyone’s safety, the following county facilities have been closed:
· All County Parks and Beach Parks will not open on Thursday and will remain closed until further notice.
· All County Solid Waste Transfer Stations and both the Hilo and Puuanahulu Landfills will close at noon on Thursday.
All Hele-On buses are scheduled to operate as normal on Thursday and Friday. However, due to heavy rains and potential road closures, bus routes may be canceled with little or no notice. Please prepare for alternative transportation during this hurricane event. Delays are expected.
Senior Nutrition Programs and Elderly Recreation Program activities are canceled Thursday and Friday. Van service provided by Coordinated Services for the Elderly has been suspended for Thursday and Friday.
Residents are strongly encouraged to stay off roadways and travel as little as possible to avoid wind and flooding hazards.Hawaii County media release
The Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting scheduled for Friday, August 8, has been cancelled due to the approaching storms. Items on this agenda will be deferred to the August 22 meeting.
The DLNR is also announcing additional closures to its state-managed park and forest lands as a precautionary measure.
Areas being closed (Wednesday):
Hawaii and Maui —
· All Division of Forestry and Wildlife managed lands on Hawaii and Maui will be closed by 6 p.m., including forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, forest hiking trails, and game management areas, until further notice.
· On Hawaii island this includes Keanakolu cabins, Ainapo hiking trail, Muliwai trail and Waimanu valley campground.
· The Division of State Parks will close state parks on Hawaii island, Maui and Molokai at 6 p.m. They will remain closed until further notice.
Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) does not plan to close any state small boat harbors but is advising boaters to monitor VHF radio for Coast Guard information on port closures and other safety advisories. Boaters are responsible to secure their vessels and any loose items stored nearby. In addition, make sure the bilge pumps are operational and batteries are fully charged.Department of Land and Natural Resources
The “Hawaii Boater’s Hurricane and Tsunami Safety Manual” can be found online here.
According to the State Department of Human Resources Development, state offices in Maui County and on Hawaii Island will close at noon Thursday, Aug. 7, and remain closed all day Friday, Aug. 8, due to anticipated severe weather conditions and possible flooding caused by Iselle and Julio.
Due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Iselle, state offices On Hawaii Island and Maui County, including HDOA inspection offices, will be closed from noon on Thursday through Friday. This notice is only for Hawaii and Maui County.
Travelers who require Plant Quarantine inspection to transport non-domestic animals and propagative plants from Hawaii Island and Maui County to other islands over the weekend should schedule inspections prior to noon Thursday. Non-domestic animals include birds, rats, mice, chinchillas and guinea pigs.
Hilo inspection office: (808) 974-4141
Kona inspection office: (808)326-1077
Kahului inspection office: (808)873-3962Dept. of Agriculture media release
The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will close public schools through Friday, Aug. 8 on Hawaii Island and Maui County (Maui, Molokai, Lanai). Closures at these schools went into effect at 2 p.m. today. All inter-scholastic athletic events and student activities are canceled at those schools.
Hurricane Iselle is expected to make landfall tomorrow on Hawaii Island.
“We are making these decisions based our latest updates with the State Civil Defense,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We will keep you informed of the latest as it becomes available.”
For updated information, follow the DOE on Twitter at @HIDOE808.
Many Hawaii State Public Charter Schools on Hawaii Island and Maui County are also closing their schools in conjunction with DOE closures. For more information on Charter Schools’ closures, visit chartercommission.hawaii.gov.
Many DOE schools serve as emergency shelters; however, County Civil Defense agencies have determined which schools are activated shelters. Please note the following.
Hawaii County designated shelters:
Laupahoehoe Public Charter School
Kohala High & Elementary
Pahoa High & Intermediate
Honokaa High & Intermediate
Waikoloa ElementaryDepartment of Education media release
The University of Hawaii is shutting down Big Island campuses. “The University of Hawai’i at Hilo and Hawai’i Community College, along with its West Hawai’i Education Center on Hawai’i Island will be closed all day on Thursday, August 7th and Friday, August 8th” read a UH dispatch, “due to anticipated severe weather caused by Hurricanes Iselle and Julio.”
Big Island courts will also close.
State Courthouses and Judiciary Offices on Hawaii Island and Maui County will be closed beginning at noon on Thursday, August 7 through Friday, August 8, due to severe weather conditions being projected by the National Weather Service. The closures include the Children’s Justice Centers, Offices of the Public Guardian, and Driver’s Education Offices on Hawaii Island and Maui County. In addition, Drivers Education classes scheduled on Maui County for August 7 will be cancelled and rescheduled. Family Court hearings scheduled at the Molokai Courthouse on Thursday, August 7 and Friday, August 8 will be rescheduled to Thursday, August 28 and Friday, August 29.
The Chief Justice will be issuing an order extending deadlines for any Hawaii Island or Maui County Court matters with a filing or hearing date of Thursday, August 7 or Friday, August 8. All documents due during the Court closure will be considered timely if filed by the close of business on Monday, August 11. Hearings or trials cancelled due to the closure of the Courts shall be rescheduled to the next available date with due regard for any statutory mandates.
Big Island and Maui County Courthouses are expected to reopen on Monday morning for business.Hawaii State Judiciary media release
All public libraries in Maui County and on the Big Island will be closed on Thursday, August 7, announced State Librarian Richard Burns.
Meanwhile, the Hawaii State Department of Transportation aims to keep things open:
Currently all state airports and highways remain open. If state airports and highways are impacted by the storms, information regarding closures and re-openings will be posted on the HDOT website at hidot.hawaii.gov starting tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 7, and will be updated regularly throughout the storm.
During severe weather conditions, travelers are advised to check with air carriers on flight schedules before going to airports. Be prepared, stay informed and stay safe. Visit the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (formerly State Civil Defense) website at www.scd.hawaii.gov for more storm-related information and monitor local media for current information and conditions. Hawaii State DOT media release
The Coast Guard is stepping in to set Heavy Weather Conditions for Hilo and Kawaihae Harbors.
The Coast Guard Captain of the Port has set Heavy Weather Condition 2 for commercial ports on the Island of Hawaii at 4 p.m., and throughout Maui County at 9 p.m. All other ports remain in condition 3.
All pleasure craft were instructed to seek sheltered waters.
Vessels transiting within the vicinity of the Hawaiian Island harbors should seek sheltered waters until storm conditions subside and anticipate harbor closures at the discretion of the COTP as storm conditions progress.
Condition V: Seasonally readiness, 1 June – 30 November
Condition IV: The ALERT condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 72 hours.
Condition III: The READINESS condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 48 hours.
Condition II: The WARNING condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 24 hours.
Condition I: The DANGER condition in which winds above 34 knots (39 mph) are expected within 12 hours and until the storm has passed and is no longer a threat.
Heavy Weather conditions for each port will be updated as information becomes available regarding potential wind conditions for the islands.
All ocean going commercial vessels and ocean going barges greater than 200 gross tons are expected to make preparations to leave the ports by the following times:
Hawaii (Big Island) Hilo – 4 a.m., Aug. 7, 2014
Hawaii (Big Island) Kawaihae – 7 a.m., Aug. 7, 2014
Maui County Kahului – 9 a.m., Aug. 7, 2014
Maui County Kaunakakai and Kaumalapau – 12 p.m., Aug. 7, 2014
Vessels that desire to remain in port must submit a safe mooring plan in writing to the COTP and receive permission to remain in port.
Once the storm has passed, and the threat of severe weather has subsided, the Coast Guard, Army Corp of Engineers and State of Hawaii will jointly conduct surveys of channel blockage and prioritize steps to resume essential, then normal, vessel traffic. These steps are to minimize risk of damage to vessels and assess the conditions of channels, aids to navigation, waterfront facilities, piers and other infrastructure.
The COTP, in conjunction with the state DOT-Harbors in Hawaii, will begin sending Port Assessment Teams to accessible areas of the zone.
Port Assessment Teams will document all activities using logs, photographs and any other appropriate means.
The Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners and fax out a Marine Safety Information Bulletin to notify the reopening of the port and any special conditions.USGS media release
From Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:
To keep visitors and employees safe as Hurricane Iselle approaches the Hawaiian Islands, park officials will close all backcountry areas and certain roads in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, effective 6 p.m. this evening. Kīlauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum will close at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Thurs., Aug. 7, 2014.
Park closures are as follows:
– Chain of Craters Road, from Devastation Trail parking lot to the coast
– All backcountry areas, including Mauna Loa and cabins
– Mauna Loa Road (known locally as “Mauna Loa Strip Road”)
– All coastal areas and trails, including, ‘Āpua Point, Keauhou, Halapē, and Ka‘aha
– Kulanaokuaiki campsite
– Nāpau campsite
– Nāmakanipaio campgrounds and the A-frame cabins
– Kilauea Visitor Center closes at 1 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 7
– Jaggar Museum closes at 1 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 7
Closures will remain in effect until Hurricane Iselle has passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer, and any damage is assessed. Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp will remain open for registered guests.
“Although we aren’t closing Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in its entirety, we strongly encourage visitors to consider changing their plans if they were planning to visit Thursday or Friday,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We will offer our regularly scheduled programs and guided hikes from the Kīlauea Visitor Center until 11 a.m. on Thursday,” she said.National Park Service media release
There will be there will be no hunting at Pohakuloa Training Area this weekend due to weather and safety considerations, according to U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs.