2011 hurricane season forecast ‘below normal’

LIHU‘E — Hurricane season for the Central Pacific region officially began Wednesday, prompting the county to remind Hawai‘i residents to be prepared.

“Every family should have its own disaster preparedness plan, which should include having at least a five-day supply of non-perishable food, three quarts of bottled water per person per day, a battery powered radio, flashlight and an extra supply of prescription medicines,” Kaua‘i Civil Defense Manager Kylan Dela Cruz said in a statement.

The National Weather Service is predicting a below-normal hurricane season. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts rainfall will be much above normal in Kaua‘i, but near or below normal for the other islands.

“Watch for the threat of a hurricane or tropical storm in the second week of August and again in the first full week of September,” the Almanac says. September and October temperatures are expected to be near normal in Kaua‘i.

Two to four tropical cyclones are predicted for the Central Pacific Region this hurricane season, according to a Central Pacific Hurricane Center and NOAA Climate Prediction Center report. On average, hurricane seasons typically have four or five tropical cyclones, including tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

Hurricane season will officially end Nov. 30.

The hurricane center will issue a hurricane watch when a hurricane threatens to strike land within 48 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when a hurricane is expected to strike within 36 hours.

When a watch or warning is issued, residents and visitors should tune to www.thegardenisland.com or local radio and television stations for official weather information and civil defense instructions.

The last hurricane to hit Hawai‘i was Hurricane Iniki in September 1992, which devastated Kaua‘i. Ten years prior, Hurricane Iwa struck Kaua‘i and caused substantial damage.

For information on hurricane preparedness or to sign up for the county’s emergency notifications, visit the county’s website at www.kauai.gov or the Central Pacific Hurricane Center at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/.

The county’s emergency notification service, called Connect CTY, is designed to quickly inform residents and businesses about civil defense emergencies, such as tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, flash floods and other situations that could impact the safety, property or welfare of residents and visitors, a county release said.

Those without Internet access may have their phone number and other pertinent information added to the county database by calling the Kaua‘i Civil Defense Agency at 241-1800.

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