Hurricane Preparedness in Hawaii

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Hurricane Preparedness in Hawaii

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Hawaii Island , Kauai , Maui , Oahu
Aug 10, 2009

Here is the recommended “Disaster Supply Kit” from the National Hurricane Center.

  • Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
  • Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
    — non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
    — foods for infants or the elderly
    — snack foods
    — non-electric can opener
    — cooking tools / fuel
    — paper plates / plastic utensils
  • Blankets / Pillows, etc.
  • Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
  • First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
  • Special Items - for babies and the elderly
  • Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
  • Flashlight / Batteries
  • Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
  • Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
  • Keys
  • Toys, Books and Games
  • Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
    — insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
  • Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
  • Vehicle fuel tanks filled
  • Pet care items
    — proper identification / immunization records / medications
    — ample supply of food and water
    — a carrier or cage
    — muzzle and leash

To this, my husband added a French press and coffee.

To this, I added my laptops, camera equipment, external hard drives, and journals—those already scribbled in and blank ones for “capturing the moment.”

A friend and survivor of ‘Iniki suggested—in all seriousness—a giant cooler full of ice-cold beer. He says beer speaks louder than money when it comes to hiring guys to fix your roof.

When it comes to hurricanes, residents on Kaua’i take note. Hurricane ‘Iniki annihilated the island back on September 11, 1992. Ten years before that, Hurricane Iwa blew through.

In recent summers, as weather forecasters watched storms brew in the east Pacific, I have filled up my car with gas and stocked up on toilet paper, but I have not put together an actual Hurricane Preparedness Kit, per se. When I first heard about Hurricane Felicia last week, she was a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. That means she possessed maximum sustained winds of 131 – 155 mph. Just like ‘Iniki when the eye of that storm passed over Kaua’i. For some reason, I decided this was the year for me to create a kit. Instead of grocery shopping to fill my kitchen cabinets, I purchased foodstuffs for a waterproof box. I also put off cleaning my house. I mean, why bother when a hurricane might trash it anyway, right?

Since then, Felicia—still halfway from Mexico to Hawai’i—downgraded to Category 3, then 2. Weather forecasters predicted this—that she would weaken as she moved north over cooler waters. Over the weekend, Felicia traveled westerly at 10 – 12 mph as a Category 1 hurricane, straight for Big Island. Yesterday, she downgraded even more to a tropical storm, and I pulled out my supplies and cleaned the house.

Today, Felicia’s eye is expected to brush Big Island and hit Maui head on, packing maximum sustained winds up to 39 mph as a tropical depression.

The entire state is under a Tropical Storm Watch. Maui is currently under a High Surf Advisory and Flash Flood Watch, as well.

I expect the winds (sustained 23 mph with gusts up to 31 mph) and rains will make their way to Kaua’i tonight. This morning, I pilfered breakfast from my Hurricane Preparedness Kit—Pop-Tarts. Not the healthiest of foods, but I was counseled to stock my kit with canned goods and prepared meals. That means I’ll be having Spaghetti-O’s for lunch.

Still, storms are fickle—I am told ‘Iniki was expected to bypass Kaua’i to the south, then, made an unexpected, dogleg right for a direct pass over the island.  So I won’t dismantle the kit completely. 

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