Prepare now for hurricane season

Disconcerting.

Unsettling.

Troubling.

Those are a few words that came to mind after hearing the forecast for the hurricane season in the Central Pacific basin that starts on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

The National Weather Service is calling for five to eight tropical cyclones with a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 20% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

Seventy percent. That is a pretty good chance we’ll be seeing more hurricanes coming this way. And, let’s face it, Kauai has been fortunate in recent years, with hurricanes passing, and missing, without causing significant damage. Those who have been around say it’s not a matter of if, but when, another hurricane comes our way and does not turn aside, break apart or shift directions, but scores a direct hit.

We hope and pray it’s not this year or ever again. But at the same time, much like our county leaders, we urge people to be prepared. This is not a time to relax, let your guard down and assume everything will be fine.

A prediction of five to eight tropical cyclones with a 70% chance of an above-normal season should cause at least some concern for all of us. But rather than worry, which does no good, be ready.

“With the hurricane season on the horizon, it is important for the public to plan and prepare for hurricanes now,” said Kauai Emergency Management Agency Administrator Elton Ushio in a press release Thursday. “During our initial response to the April flood and landslide disaster as well as Hurricane Lane, 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.”

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami echoed Ushio’s recommendation on preparedness.

“It is crucial for the people of Kauai to be prepared in the event of a hurricane. Last year’s flood in April and heavy rains from Hurricane Lane are hard reminders why every family should be proactive to develop a disaster plan and have enough supplies to last at least 14 days.”

That 14-day support should include 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. Don’t wait until a hurricane warning has been issued to start collecting those items. Don’t be one of those people who pushes things off and leave Costco with five cases of water and four cases of toilet paper when a hurricane is barreling toward Kauai.

Follow the situation. Be alert and and be informed.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 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 within 36 hours.

We’ll keep thegardenisland.com, our Facebook page and our print edition updated with all the latest predictions about cyclones throughout the hurricane season. Information on planning and preparation regarding hurricane season is also available on the county website, www.kauai.gov/kema, or the CPHC website, www.hurricanes.gov/cphc.

Preparing for hurricane season isn’t rocket science. But it is critical when it comes to your safety.

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