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Hurricane - survival depends on preparation
by Ian Taitano, staff writer

September 2002 marks the anniversaries of two of the major hurricanes to hit Hawai‘i in the past 20 years. It is important for Hawai‘i residents to know that hurricanes can happen so they can take the initiative and prepare for the worst. It is better to be prepared than unprepared when a hurricane hits.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the likelihood of a hurricane hitting the Hawaiian Islands is greater than ever. Hurricanes have been happening here every 10 years during el nino weather conditions. Both conditions apply to 2002.

Hurricanes can happen at any time, therefore, it is better to be prepared than unprepared when a hurricane hits.
Web photo

Storms are rated by the intensity and strength of their winds. The first stage, which is the least intense, is called a tropical depression, with wind speeds getting up to 38 m.p.h. The next level is a tropical storm with wind speeds of 39 to 73 m.p.h. Then there are five levels of hurricane:
Category 1 carries wind speeds of 74 to 95 m.p.h.
Category 2 carries wind speeds of 96 to 110 m.p.h.
Category 3 carries wind speeds of 111 to 130 m.p.h.
Category 4 carries wind speeds of 131 to 155 m.p.h.
Category 5 carries wind speeds in excess of 156 m.p.h.

Iniki, the hurricane that hit Kauai in 1992, had maximum wind speeds clocked at 241 m.p.h.

According to the O‘ahu Civil Defense Agency, those who should evacuate are residents who live in Tsunami Evacuation Zones (there are maps on the Web and in the telephone directory), residents who live on ridges and low-lying areas that are subject to flooding, and residents whose houses are lightly constructed or built of wood frame. Residents of multi-story buildings of heavy concrete and steel at least 300 feet inland from the shoreline should go to the third floor or higher.

OCDA says that listening to the radio broadcasts will give residents the proper time to evacuate to these shelters, ideally before the arrival of sustained 40 m.p.h. winds. Trying to evacuate after this may be more dangerous than staying where you are.

OCDA recommends evacuating to the houses of a family or friends who aren’t in high risk areas or to an identified community shelter. Community shelters will be frequently announced on the radio.

Community shelters will not allow pets. Drop pets and the necessary supplies off with a family or friend.

The first warning, called a storm watch, occurs 36 hours before a hurricane is expected to hit. The next warning, called a hurricane warning, occurs at 24 hours in advance. This is the best time to start the evacuation process.The actual hurricane season lasts from July 1 to November 30, but nature doesn’t always respect our deadlines and it’s never too early to be prepared.

For more information, visit these Web sites:

Here is a list of items you should bring along to the shelter in case of this emergency:

§ Portable radio
§ Extra batteries
§ Flashlight
§ Candles
§ Matches
§ Medication
§ Antiseptic solution
§ Aspirin or aspirin free relievers
§ Bandage, sterile, two and four inches wide
§ Bandages, plastic strip, assorted
§ Respiratory and digestive medications
§ Ear drops
§ Thermometer
§ Tweezers
§ Medicine glass
§ Motion sickness tabs
§ Petroleum jelly
§ Rubbing alcohol
§ Safety pins
§ Scissors
§ Antibacterial soap
§ Toothache remedy
§ Water purification tabs
§ Plastic garbage bags

For emergency assistance, call:
Department of Human Resources 523-4215
Elderly/ Disabled Assistance 523-4545
Voice or TTY Service 527-6300
Oahu Civil Defense 523-4121
TTY Service 527-5476



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