Although hurricanes are rare in Hawaii, their season is from June to November. They often result in tropical storms which can cause damage, power outages and flooding. Hawaii residents have learned, when a storm warning is in effect it pays to be ready.
With the looming threat of Hurricane Felicia, island retailers are already noticing increased sales as people prepare for a possible storm. City Mill in Kaimuki, has filled over 100 gallons of propane in the last couple days. Orders for bottled water have doubled at Menehune Water Co. Purchases of tarps, batteries, flashlights. hand-crank radios, cell phone chargers, lanterns, generators and other emergency items have also increased.
Whether or not Felicia is reduced to a tropical storm, a system this strong can still bring heavy rainfall and flooding. The potential for power outages, road closures or mud slides is highly possible. In addition to stocking up on emergency items, develop an emergency plan. If you are trapped by a storm, know where you will take shelter, and familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes. Help may not come right away, ensure you have at least 3 days of supplies to keep you going. This should also include a system to keep your living area sanitary, deal with waste and garbage and provide warmth. Don't forget to include games or playing cards to keep the family occupied.
In any type of disaster, a little knowledge goes a long way. Know what you are up against. Understand the weather terms that you hear on the news so that you have an idea of the type of storm that is being predicted and what types of precautions you need to take. Here are some of the more common terms we hear all the time:
Tropical Depression: A storm system with 38 mph sustained winds or less. (*sustained winds average one minute in length and measured at least 33 feet above the surface)
Tropical Storm: A storm system of sustained winds of 39-73 mph accompanied by strong thunderstorms.
Hurricane: Similar to a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Hurricanes are rated on a scale from 1-5:
#1 - 74-95 mph winds with possible damage to unanchored mobile homes, signs and vegetation.
#2 - 96-110 mpg winds with moderate damage to all mobile homes, roofs, small boats, and accompanied by flooding.
#3 - 111-130 mph winds with extensive damage to small buildings. Possibility of roads being cut off.
#4 - 131-155 mph winds with extreme damage or destruction to roofs, trees, roads, mobile homes and beach flooding.
#5 - over 155 mph winds with catastrophic damage to buildings, vegetation, roads and home flooding.
Storm Surge: A dome of water pushed ashore by high winds that can reach 25 feet in height and be 50-1000 miles wide.
Storm Tide: This is a storm surge combined with a normal high tide creating higher than normal tide. (i.e. 10 ft storm surge combined with 2 foot high tide, creates a 12 foot storm tide)
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch: Conditions for either are building in specified areas and could develop within 36 hours. Stay tuned to news sources for updates.
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warnings: Conditions for either of the two storms are expected in a specific area within 24 hours.
Short Term Watches and Warnings: Detailed information is provided about possible hurricane threats such as flash floods or tornadoes.
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