Emergency outdoor sirens will be activated on O’ahu at 4 pm today, Thursday (US Time), as Hurricane Lane approaches.
This will alert residents and visitors on O’ahu to the potential of severe flooding from Hurricane Lane, and the possibility of damaging winds. It will coincide with an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message being sent to cellphones on O’ahu.
O’ahu’s emergency siren warning system is the main way that the island alerts residents who are outdoors about island-wide emergencies or evacuations.
Hurricane Lane has started to weaken, but Hawaii is not out of the woods yet. O’ahu is expected to experience Tropical Storm-Force winds late tonight, accompanied by heavy rain. Residents and visitors are urged to remain vigilant until the threat has safely passed.
Twenty evacuation shelters will be open and buses ready and free for all patrons, once the emergency sirens sounds at 4pm.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Cardwell says this is being done now so that anyone who wants to get to a shelter can do so safely while there is still daylight. As of noon today, there are a total of 350 people already in the shelters.
O’ahu residents and travellers are strongly advised that if you live next to a waterway or the ocean and witness rising water, don’t hesitate – evacuate and get to higher ground. Call 911 to report flooding conditions, or 768-CITY. In addition, be aware of the potential of landslides and rock falls if you live next to a cliff or ridge or valley.
“We want to be sure everyone on O‘ahu is made fully aware of the threat that Hurricane Lane poses and takes it seriously,” said Mayor Caldwell.
“Our Outdoor Siren Warning System is one of the best tools to bring attention to residents and visitors of the impending impacts from Hurricane Lane. Therefore, we will be issuing a siren warning at 4 p.m today. We are providing advance notice that sirens will be activated on O‘ahu to inform everyone that we remain under a hurricane warning. ”
The latest forecast by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center shows that Hurricane Lane continues to move slowly past the Hawaiian islands.
“Therefore, we are looking at a significant rain event since the storm is extremely wide and holds a lot of moisture. People need to be aware of dangerous and potentially life-threatening flooding from overflowing streams and coastal flooding from storm surge generated by Hurricane Lane.”
Sirens are only activated during actual emergencies or monthly tests on the first working day of the month. During either event, important information is simultaneously broadcast over local television and radio stations as part of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), via official social media sites, and the city’s smartphone app HNL.info, which is also accessible as a webpage: https://hnl.info/alerts/login.php.
While hurricane evacuation shelters offer some protection from high winds and flying debris, they are intended to be a last resort option for residents and visitors to use at their own risk. In almost all cases, the identified evacuation shelters HAVE NOT been designed or hardened for winds greater than a tropical storm (39 mph). These shelters are, however, a safer option than remaining in areas prone to flooding or storm surge inundation, on exposed ridge lines or in older homes with wood frames or single wall construction.
Whenever possible, the public should plan to shelter in place or stay with family or friends in homes outside of these hazard areas that were designed, built, or renovated to withstand anticipated conditions.
Evacuees should not expect personal care attendants or caregivers to be available at evacuation shelters. Only general assistance and accommodations will be provided. In addition, evacuation shelters DO NOT stock supplies. You must bring your own food, water, bedding and other emergency supplies with you.
Household pets entering shelters must be securely leashed, or in a pet carrier or cage for safety and owners must provide water and food for their pets, and will be expected to assist in the care of their animals.
If anyone has questions about closures or city services, they are asked to call 768-CITY.
“This is an emergency management message. A hurricane warning is in effect. Extremely dangerous wind and flooding may occur tonight. Flooding may occur in coastal areas, near streams, and low lying areas. If your home is threatened, leave the area. The Bus will transport people to shelter and no fare is required. Beaches and beach parks are closed. Leave immediately. Stay tuned to TV, radio, and official social media.”
Key Information from National Hurricane Center