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Hurricane season starts June 1

LĪHU‘E – The official 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 three to six tropical cyclones with a 40 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a 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.

“With the hurricane season on the horizon, it is important for the public to plan and prepare for hurricanes now,” said Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency (KEMA) Administrator Elton Ushio. “During our initial response to the April flood and landslide disaster, we noted an immediate need and demand for food and water. We can all learn from this and prepare accordingly as we build our disaster kits.”

He 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.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. echoed Ushio’s recommendation on preparedness.

“While Kaua‘i residents have shown their resiliency in dealing with and recovering from the recent April flood and disasters such as hurricanes Iwa and Iniki, it is crucial that we are prepared for anything that comes our way,” said the mayor. “I encourage everyone to work and prepare together for the upcoming hurricane season.”

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 to strike 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.

Information on planning and preparation regarding hurricane season is available on the county website, www.kauai.gov/kema, or the Central Pacific Hurricane Center website,http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/.

To sign up for the county’s free emergency notification service, Blackboard Connect, please go to the county website, 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 241-1800.