(BIVN) – Governor David Ige today issued a pre-landfall emergency proclamation as category three Hurricane Douglas approaches the Hawaiian islands. The proclamation authorizes the expenditure of state funds for the quick and efficient relief of disaster-related damage, losses and suffering that may result from the storm, the State says.
“Our top priority is always the safety, health and well-being of our residents and visitors,” said Governor Ige in a news release. “Please take immediate steps to protect your families, loved ones, employees and property. We ask everyone to closely follow emergency instructions as we prepare for Hurricane Douglas.”
The disaster emergency relief period begins immediately and continues through July 31, 2020.
Emergency officials are reminding residents to prepare now. This media release was issued by the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency:
With the National Weather Service closely monitoring the oncoming category 3 Hurricane Douglas, now is the time for preparation to avoid long lines at gas stations, grocery stores, and ATMs across Hawai’i.
Hurricane Douglas is currently moving on a consistent track towards the islands and is projected to reach the Hawaiʻi island sometime Saturday night.
“Hurricane season brings the very real threat of high winds, rain, storm surge and potential flooding to the Hawaiian Islands, and Hurricane Douglas could bring significant impacts even if it doesn’t hit us directly. I urge Hawai’i’s residents and businesses to prepare now. Make an emergency plan, talk about it with your families and employees, and gather supplies to ensure that our communities are resilient,” said Governor David Ige.
The Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) reminds residents to prepare an “emergency kit” of a minimum of 14 days of food, water, and other supplies that should also include face masks and hand sanitizer since we will be simultaneously mitigating against the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
“We advocate for a 14-day recommendation because of Hawai’i’s location in the Pacific during a disaster,” said Luke Meyers, Administrator of HI-EMA. “Everyone who plans ahead and prepares an emergency kit helps not only themselves, but they also help their entire community deal with a disaster.”
The COVID-19 pandemic also poses an additional challenge during a hurricane: the issue of shelter.
“We’ll be managing both incidents at the same time, but we urge residents to take into account that due to the necessary physical distancing measures put into place by the pandemic, shelters will not be able to operate at their usual capacity. Occupancy in shelters will be lower,” said Meyers.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and just one storm can result in devastating potential damage to residents and their property. It can also result in catastrophic destruction to our economy due to the isolated location of Hawai’i. With the possible shutdown of ports, goods and services could be weeks or even months away.
HI-EMA suggests keeping your family’s supplies fresh for the entire season by rotating, consuming, and replenishing them over time.
Emergency officials are also preparing at the County level.
Federal, State and County agencies met Thursday, the office of Mayor Harry Kim reported. The session was aimed at getting staff familiar with the background regarding the storm, which was approaching the 140-degree longitude boundary into the Central Pacific.
“The National Weather Service has not yet issued any advisories on this storm, but Civil Defense will keep the community informed through regular updates as the storm progresses,” said the County of Hawaiʻi. “Civil Defense will be on 24-hour duty starting Saturday or sooner if necessary, to keep round-the-clock watch on Hurricane Douglas. In the meantime, the County continues its vigilance to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19, and appreciates the public’s cooperation with CDC guidelines to stay healthy and safe.”
Due to the threat posed by the storm, public access to Waipi‘o Valley will be closed from 7 a.m. Saturday, July 25 until further notice.
“Special duty officers and Waipi‘o Valley Rangers will be on site at the top of the road leading into the valley, to ensure that valley access is restricted to local traffic only (residents, land owners, and farmers),” the County of Hawaiʻi says. “Local traffic will be allowed to pass through a single-vehicle at a time.”
Emergency officials are also recommending that residents and visitors take the following actions in preparation for a possible hurricane or tropical cyclone:
Know if your home is in an inundation zone, flood zone, or susceptible to high winds and other hazards.
- Sign up for local notification alerts (i.e., HNL.INFO).
- Talk with family members and develop a clear understanding of what you will do if a hurricane or tropical storm threatens. Prepare an action plan that includes details such as whether your family intends to shelter in place or go to a friend’s or relative’s house.
- Build an emergency kit containing up to 14 days of food, water, medicine and other personal hygiene including masks and hand sanitizers.
- Assess and consider investing in flood insurance.
- Consider retrofitting your house or investing in hurricane clips.
Earlier today, the Hawaiian Electric company shared some important information about storm readiness. The Hawaii Gas company also shared this information:
Hawaii Gas is working closely with emergency management officials statewide to prepare for Hurricane Douglas. Crews are topping-off gas supply at hospitals, first responders and other essential facilities. Propane tank refilling stations for 20 lbs. BBQ grill cylinders are also being filled.
Gas customers should not turn off their gas, as gas can provide a means of heating water and cooking food during a power outage. Only customers who are directed by state or county emergency management officials to evacuate should turn off their gas at the meter or tank. Customers must contact Hawaii Gas to turn on gas service after gas has been shut off.
The public can stay up to date by checking HawaiiGas.com and following Hawaii Gas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Customers can also contact Hawaii Gas by phone:
Hilo: (808) 935-0021
Kona: (808) 329-2984