County Officials Offer Safety Guidance Ahead of 2021 Hurricane Season
The hurricane season in the central Pacific region, which includes Hawai’i, starts on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
According to the National Weather Service, this year’s outlook calls for two to five tropical cyclones with an 80% chance of a near to below-normal season. The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity in the Central Pacific basin and does not predict whether or how many of these systems will affect Hawai‘i.
An average season has four or five storms, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms as well as hurricanes.
“In the event of a Tropical Cyclone, preparedness is crucial for you and your family. If your home is safe to do so, sheltering in place is usually the best option. “However, if you must seek shelter outside of your household, following COVID-19 guidelines is recommended,” said Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency (KEMA) Administrator Elton Ushio. “This year’s outlook is around normal; however, we remind the public that it just takes one storm to adversely affect our community, even without a direct hit.”
Ushio noted that disaster kits should include at least a 14-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of water per person per day, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, an extra supply of prescription medicines, and other items specific to individual and family needs. It is also recommended that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks and hand sanitizers be included in disaster kits.
“Now is the time to ensure that your family or business has a plan and disaster kit,” said Mayor Derek SK Kawakami. “Residents and businesses alike should store or secure items that could become hazardous in the event of a storm.”
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors, and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners. Complex computer modeling and human expertise serve as the basis for the hurricane center’s track and intensity forecasts that extend out five days.
The CPHC issues a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch when a hurricane or tropical-storm-force winds are possible within 48 hours.
A Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning is issued when a hurricane or tropical-storm-force winds are expected within 36 hours.
When either a watch or a warning is issued, residents and visitors should listen to their local radio or TV stations and monitor local web/internet media and websites for official weather information and instructions from emergency management entities.
To sign up for the county’s free emergency notification service, Blackboard Connect, visit www.kauai.gov/kema.
Blackboard Connect is designed to quickly inform residents and businesses about civil defense emergencies including tsunamis; hurricanes; earthquakes; flash floods; and any other situation that could impact the safety, property, or welfare of residents and visitors.
Those without Internet access can have their phone number and other pertinent information added to the county database by calling the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency at 808-241-1800.