Civil Defense’s Latest Tsunami Message

From County of Hawaii Civil Defense:

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami Advisory for the State of Hawaii effective 3:24PM this afternoon.  An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 occurred off the coast of Chile.  A tsunami advisory is issued due to the threat of a potential changes in sea level and strong currents which may be dangerous to those in or near the water. The threat may continue for several hours after the arrival of the initial waves or sea level changes, however significant widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory.  Presently, the initial arrival of any wave action or sea level changes and currents for Hawaii Island is expected around 3:00am tomorrow morning and may last for several hours.  Again, widespread inundation is not expected.  This will be the last information update unless conditions change.

Ignacio Still Category 4 but Tropical Storm Winds Expected Here

Hurricane Ignacio, which strengthened to a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane yesterday, is still a Category 4 today and likely will still  be a full fledged hurricane when it passes North of the Big Island on Monday, though the Natioonal Weather Service does say it will “weaken through Tuesday.” It’s predicted to pass far enough north of us, however, that this island is more likely to get tropical storm force winds and rain. Surf may now reach 15 to 20 feet.

Here’s the 5 a.m.  Hawaii County Civil Defense notice:

“The National weather Service Tropical Storm Watch for Hawaii Island remains in effect. Hawaii Island could begin to experience tropical storm conditions starting late tonight and into early tomorrow. As of 5:00 AM this morning Hurricane Ignacio remains a category 4 hurricane and was located approximately 450 miles east of Hilo and moving in a northwest direction at 9 miles per hour. Currently Ignacio is recording sustained winds of 140 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend outwards from the center up to 30 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

“A High Surf Warning has been issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island through 6:00PM Tuesday evening. Surf heights are expected to increase today and building to possibly 15 to 20 feet. Residents in low lying coastal areas and boat owners are advised to take necessary precautions.

“Based on the current forecast track and possible impacts, emergency shelters will be opened later today and the public is advised to monitor upcoming radio messages for information on shelter locations and sites. Information will also be posted on the Hawaii County Civil Defense web site at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/civil-defense/.

“The Civil Defense Agency will continue to maintain close communication with the National Weather Service and monitor the system. The community is encouraged to take the time to prepare early for possible storm impacts that could include high surf, strong winds, and heavy rains. Please monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.”

The latest storm track. Remember, the white area is the predicted cone of possibility of the passage of the storm’s eye, not the width of the storm:

5 Day Track for IGNACIO

Th latest enhanced satellite image, which gives a better idea of the scale of the storm:

Satellite Images for IGNACIO

 

 

Any Pet in a Storm…. Tips for Pet Safety in a Disaster

Headlines after a major storm usually chronicle the toll to people and property.  But pets are also frequent victims. They  may be outside when the storm hits, or flee in a panic, or be unhoused when their humans are. Cats, especially, can simply get lost if the scenery gets rearranged too much. And in the aftermath of a storm, humans sometimes discover that when they were laying in spam and toilet paper, they forgot about their pets’ needs.

With Hurricane Ignacio approaching the island and a second storm following close after, now would be a good time to think about not only your own storm needs, but your pet’s. Below are some tips, gathered from various reputable animal advocacy groups, for keeping your pets safe during a major storm and its aftermath.

Microchip your animals.  It’s probably too late to do this before Ignacio hits.  But there’s another major storm coming in Ignacio’s wake, and the hurricane season is far from over.  A microchip tracking device, available through your veterinarian, may make the difference between seeing your pet again or not.

Make sure that microchip and collar information, especially cell phone numbers, is up to date.

Bring your pets inside well before the storm hits. “Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster,” recommends the ASPCA.  Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis; many animals can be panicked by storm conditions such a close lightning. If you wait until it starts raining or the wind starts to howl, your pet may already have “gone to ground” somewhere and not be findable.

Have a travel crate ready for each pet. And make sure it’s somewhere where you can get at it in a hurry.  In the long term, it might be a good idea to get your pet accustomed to going in the crate by feeding it there. Put the crate somewhere where it’s readily accessible and not likely to get covered with debris or blown away.

In an emergency evacuation situation, a small cat or dog can be scooped up in a pillowcase, but don’t leave it there any longer than you have to.

A note on collars: If you’re living in a thickly forested area and your animal normally wears a collar, breakaway models are available that will allow it to free itself it becomes tangled in the underbrush. But even if your animal doesn’t normally wear a collar, it’s a good idea to have a collar and leash for each animal available  in case you have to evacuate to a temporary shelter.

Buddy Up. Redrover.com suggests trading “pet information, evacuation plans and house keys with trusted neighbors or nearby friends. If you’re caught outside evacuation lines when an evacuation order is issued, your neighbors or friends can evacuate your pets for you.”

Put a “PET INSIDE” sign in your house windows.  If something goes wrong, friends, neighbors and/or emergency workers will know to look.

Stock up on Pet Food. As Tropical Storm Iselle proved here, the power can be out and roads may be blocked for a surprisingly long time after a storm.  The Humane Society suggests a five day supply of food; Redrover.com suggests a week’s supply in a sealed container. But a major storm could disrupt infrastructure much longer than that, especially on an island where port facilities could be damaged, infrastructure isn’t as robust, and both alternate road options and evacuation alternatives are limited. Many large discount stores carry five gallon waterproof resealable dry pet food containers, complete with screw-down lids, for only a few dollars.

Don’t forget water. You should have at least a week’s supply of fresh water in sealed containers, not just for your pets, but for yourself.  Again, an island is even more vulnerable than a mainland community to disrupted supplies, since our power grid is less robust. It does no good to have a catchment tank full of water if you can’t get it out of the tank and/or you can’t boil it–assuming a tree doesn’t fall on the tank.

Stock up on medication.  If your pet needs medicine, it may not be available after the storm.  The same goes for you own medication, of course.

Keep copies of important documents, including pet vaccination and medical records, and phone nos. for your vet, your relatives and your doctors, in a portable, waterproof container. The Humane Society also recommends keeping “Written information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues.

Check to see if your veterinarian has an emergency backup number.  Vets often have arrangements with other vets to take care of their patients if the vet is incapacitated or off island. In a major storm, one vet’s office may be knocked out while another’s  is still operational.

Take Photos of your Pets in case you need to do “lost animal” postings.

Make sure your first aid kit is well-stocked–another good precaution that could help both you and your pets in an emergency.

Have more portable litter and containers, as well as garbage bags, in case you need to evacuate. The ASPCA recommends “scoopable” pet litter for evacuation situations–especially for cats–and suggests, “aluminum roasting pans are perfect” as disposable litter boxes.

Have blankets or heavy towels on hand for scooping up frightened pets.

Have “comfort items” on hand:  toys, chew toys, scratch pads, special beds, cardboard boxes–whatever familiar things might help ease your pet’s anxiety in the midst of a storm or in a strange place.

Let Your Horses Out: “Pick up and put away everything sharp, make sure your fences are solid, leave the shed or stall doors open, and let them stand in the middle of the field. Most likely that is what they will do,” says local horse and donkey rescue expert Bird McIver. “Mine all stood out in the middle of the big arena. And don’t worry. They know how to cope with a storm.”

Special Recommendations for Birds, mostly from the ASPCA:

  • Have a secure travel cage or carrier, and USE IT. If your bird gets loose, it could starve or die of exposure. Or it could become an invasive species.
  • The ASPCA recommends,  “In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
  • Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • Bring paper towels to line the carrier, and change the frequently.
  • Find a quiet area to keep you bird.
  • Buy a a timed bird feeder. “If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule,” notes the ASPCA
  • More “items to keep on hand,” according to the ASPCA: “Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.”

Keep your chickens in:  So long as the hen house survives, they’re probably better off inside than blowing around.  One danger with a large flock is panicked birds piling up and smothering each other; keep the coop dark, and you may need to spend the night with them, if the danger to yourself isn’t too great.  For a few pet chickens, one chicken-oriented Web site advised setting up a small enclosure in the garage and covering it with a tarp or blanket.

Tips for reptiles, hamsters and gerbils: Turn them in to the Department of Ag. You’re not supposed to have them, anyway, and  if they get loose, you’ll be responsible for another damned invasive species on the island.

If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.   Here’s a list of “pet friendly” emergency shelters, but be aware that you’ll have to keep your animals confined:

Kealakehe High

Konawaena High

Hilo High

Waiakea High

Kea’au High

Pahoa High & Intermediate

Honoka’a High & Intermediate

Kau High

 

5 a.m. Weather Map: Ignacio may Arrive as a Hurricane

The latest forecast map from the National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center still shows Hurricane Ignacio passing a little north of the islands, but possibly arriving as a full fledged hurricane.

As of 5 a.m., Ignacio’s center was 840 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 900 miles from Kailua-Kona. The new track shows the storm most probably arriving in the vicinity of Hawaii Island late Monday or early Tuesday.  Ignacio is currently a Category 1 Hurricane with sustained winds of up 90 miles per hour and gusts higher than that. “Ignacio will slowly strengthen through late Saturday…then begin to weaken,” predicted the latest forecast.

As of 5:15 a.m., Hawaii County Civil Defense reported no storm watches or warnings currently in effect, but urged the public to “take the time to prepare early for possible storm impacts that could include high surf, strong winds, and heavy rains.  Please monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.”

5 Day Track for IGNACIO

 

Flash Flood Watch Still in Efect

A flash flood watch remains in effect as the remnants of Hurricane Hilda, now a tropical depression, muddle their way past the islands.

According to he 5 a.m. update from Hawaii County Civil Defense,   “The Flash Flood watch is expected to remain through 6:00 AM Saturday morning.  As the remnants of Tropical Depression Hilda continues to track to the south of Hawaii Island heavy rains and thunder showers are expected and may result in flooding conditions.  Heavy rains and thunder showers are being reported across parts of east Hawaii.  Some ponding and run off is occurring.  Residents in flood prone areas are advised to take necessary precautions and motorists are advised to drive carefully and prepare for possible hazardous conditions and traffic delays.   Currently all Public and private schools will be open however some charter schools may be closed due to the weather conditions.  Parents of students in Charter School programs are advised to contact your school for information on school closure or schedule changes.  Presently all major highways and roadways are open.  Everyone is advised to remain out of streams and drainages as sudden flash flooding is possible.   Additional updates may be posted and broadcast as conditions change.  Please monitor your local radio broadcast for updates.”

Kawaiihae Reopened; Spencer Park, Lumber Yard Reported Burned

According to a County of Hawaii news release, “fires in Kawaihae area continue to burn out of control however conditions in the immediate area have improved and allow for the opening of all roadways.  All roadways have been opened and residents in the Kawaihae Village area may return home.  The evacuation center at the Waimea Community Center will be closed as of 4:30 this afternoon.”

Residents have reported on Facebook that the fire burned Spencer Beach Park and a lumber yard near Kawaihae.

 

Brush Fire Forces Evacuation of Kawaihae, Spencer Beach Park

The Hawaii Fire Department reports that the brush fires in the Kawaihae area continue to burn out of control.  Due to gusty wind conditions and heavy smoke the following area  evacuations remain as a precaution:

  • Spencer Beach Park
  • Kawaihae Village area

The Evacuation Center at the Thelma Parker Gym has been moved to the Waimea Community Center and will remain open until further notice.

In addition, the following road closure is in effect:

  • Kawaihae Road is closed from the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway to the  Akoni Pule Highway Junction at the Kawaihae Harbor.  Kohala traffic on Akoni Pule is being detoured through the Kohala Ranch Subdivision.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area and to use alternate routes if possible.