LIHUE – As of 11 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the islands of Kauai and Niihau due to approaching Hurricane Ana. Ana was upgraded to a hurricane this morning and could strengthen today, followed by a gradual weakening late Saturday.
At latest forecast, storm conditions are expected as of 11 a.m. Sunday and will likely include dangerously strong winds, potentially damaging surf, and heavy rainfall that could result in flooding. Heavy rains may be experienced as early as Saturday night.
The public is advised to avoid forested and coastal areas due to potential for rising streams, flash flooding, falling trees, storm surge or high surf.
According to AccuWeather: “The Big Island, mainly southern areas, and Kauai are at greatest risk of experiencing locally heavy rainfall and tropical storm-force gusts. Localized flooding can occur. Such winds could cause some tree damage and sporadic power outages.”
Hawaii will still face some hazards this weekend despite the likelihood of escaping a direct hit by Ana. According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, “As of Friday midday, local time, Ana was gaining some strength and will spend some time as a Category 1 hurricane into Saturday morning.”
Ana will take a turn more to the northwest into this weekend. As it moves toward the northwest, the window for strengthening will close.
The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center expects that turn to be gradual with an area of high pressure preventing the hurricane from curving onto or through the islands.
As of today, the county Department of Parks and Recreation has suspended issuing camping permits for all county campgrounds until further notice.
Beginning Saturday, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources will close all Kauai forest reserves, natural area reserves, trails, hunting areas and campgrounds, including Waimea Canyon, Alakai Wilderness, Sugi Grove and Kauaikoi.
In addition, all Kaua‘i state parks will be closed on Saturday until further notice, including the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park and the Kalalau trail. Trail closure signs will be posted at the Kalalau trailhead. Since Thursday, state DLNR personnel have been hiking into the trail on foot, informing campers and hikers of the approaching storm. The Kaua‘i Civil Air Patrol will also continue fly-overs from Polihale to Kē‘ē, weather permitting.
DLNR also announced that all Kaua‘i small boat harbors will be closed on Saturday until further notice. Boaters are advised to monitor VHF radio for Coast Guard information on port closures and other safety advisories.
The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will also be closed to the public on Saturday and is expected to reopen on Tuesday at 10 a.m., pending the outcome of the storm.
The Department of Education reports that all DOE events will continue on Saturday as scheduled. Any plans to close Kaua‘i schools will be announced on Sunday.
Shelter openings will be announced if they are deemed necessary.
State and county officials are continually monitoring the weather and are ready to respond to any emergencies.
Residents and visitors are urged to prepare now for the storm. Do now wait until it is too late.
For a list of items to include in a family emergency kit and other emergency preparedness tips, visit the Civil Defense website at www.kauai.gov/civildefense.
Stay tuned to local media for weather updates, or call the National Weather Service automated weather line at 245-6001. Updated weather information can also be found on the NWS website, www.weather.go