By Karen S. Spangler, Managing Editor, Ho`okele
It’s nearing the end of hurricane season, but with the approach of yet another tropical storm/potential hurricane, now is not the time to be complacent.
Tropical Storm Ana is now bearing down on the islands and with its current trajectory, it is expected to strengthen and is on course to hit the island chain over the weekend. The storm could bring wind gusts of 55 mph and more than 15 inches of rain could occur on all islands. Rough ocean conditions with 20-foot waves are also possible.
Military residents are urged to closely monitor Navy Region Hawaii and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam social media for updates on storm conditions.
One of the storm’s early victims was the annual BayFest celebration, which was canceled on Tuesday afternoon. Officials at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe, announced that the event would not be held and that they were making the safety of military and civilian personnel the highest priority.
By Thursday’s Ho`okele presstime, Navy Region Hawaii placed the installation in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness (TCCOR) 4 which means gale force winds are expected to make land-fall within 72 hours.
Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness, or TCCOR, is the system that is used by the military to explain the level of preparation that is recommended to be undertaken before a storm arrives.
TCCOR 5 means that gale force winds, or winds from 39 to 54 mph, are expected within 96 hours. Other TCCOR stages are: TCCOR 3 48 hours before landfall, TCCOR 2 24 hours before landfall, TCCOR 1 12 hours before landfall, TCCOR 1E landfall, TCCOR R recovery.
Weather forecasters and emergency preparedness officials warn island residents about being complacent. They stress that it’s not a matter of if the islands will be hit by one of the big storms, but when.
“Tropical cyclones (i.e., hurricanes, typhoons, etc.) are one of the most dangerous and destructive weather events every military family must face in the Pacific. While we hope such a storm misses us, to ensure safety it is critical that service members and their families are prepared,” said John W. Whitehouse, regional emergency manager for Navy Region Hawaii.
“As Tropical Storm/Hurricane Ana bears down on the islands of Hawaii, we need to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. While we have been fortunate that past storms have diminished, we cannot expect that to happen every time. Just look at Hurricane Iniki and the damage it caused to Kauai,” he said.
“Prepare early by making a plan, building a kit, and staying informed,” Whitehouse advised.
Daniel DuBois, emergency management officer for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, provided recommendations for island residents as they prepare for the coming storm.
“The key thing is having a family emergency plan in place and knowing where you’re going to go,” advised DuBois. He said that residents should be familiar with the location of evacuation shelters.
He also stressed the importance of having an emergency kit. “Having an emergency kit is very important—with enough food and water to last your family for three to seven days, medications, etc. and making sure that you have at least $250 in cash,” he said. With widespread power outages, ATMs (automated teller machines) would not be operable and couldn’t dispense money.
“Make sure that important documents, such as your homeowners’ insurance papers and health paperwork, are in waterproof containers and take those with you to the evacuation shelter,” he said.
DuBois stressed the importance of residents collecting the food, water, batteries and other supplies that they need ahead of time. Too often, people wait until the last minute to purchase plywood and board up their homes, purchase the necessary supplies, etc., he noted.
For more information about hurricane and emergency preparation, click here.
Where to find emergency preparedness information:
- Navy Region Hawaii Facebook
- Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam Facebook
- Navy Region Hawaii website
- Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam website
- Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam TV (Channel 2): Hurricane information on Joint Base TV 2 will be on the text crawl 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Department of Emergency Management (DEM) website or by calling (808) 723-8960. Residents can also call the DEM office and request a free packet of hurricane readiness information.
- JBPHH Office of Emergency Management at (808) 421-4000 or (808) 448-2741 for emergency preparedness information.
- CNIC Ready Navy
- Air Force Be Ready