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Hawaii Braces for Hurricanes Iselle and Julio: How to Prepare for a Hurricane 101

On Aug. 5, Honolulu County’s Department of Emergency Management spokesman John Cummings educated Waikiki residents on how to prepare for a direct hit from a hurricane.


Not everyone in Waikiki was lounging on the beach the morning of Aug. 5.


Dozens of people filled the Waikiki Community Center to find out how to prepare for a direct hit from a hurricane.


With a category 4 hurricane 1,185 miles offshore at the time, interest in the topic was high.


Everybody should stay informed about approaching storms, have a plan and maintain a disaster supplies kit, said John Cummings, spokesperson for Honolulu County’s Department of Emergency Management.

A proper disaster supply kit should include enough of these things for seven days:

  • Water. One gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.

  • Non-perishable food.

  • Eating utensils, including a can opener.

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio with NOAA weather alerts.

  • Flashlight or portable fluorescent lights.

  • Spare batteries.

  • First aid supplies.

  • Sanitation supplies, such as moist towelettes and garbage bags.

  • Miscellaneous items such as prescriptions, infant formula and diapers, pet food, tools, maps, a dust mask and a whistle.


“Newer condos … are structurally sound places to be” and can withstand hurricanes, Cummings said. Their windows, however, can’t. Find a “safe room” with the smallest possible window, or no window at all, such as a bathroom, walk-in closet or hallway. Be prepared to be without power or running water for a long time, Cummings said.


With a million people on Oahu, and room in emergency shelters for only 30,000, it’s best to shelter in place, Cummings said.

But you should evacuate in these cases:

  • If you live in a flood-prone area.

  • If you live on an exposed ridgeline in a home built before 1995.

  • If you live in a tsunami evacuation zone. The same areas are at risk from storm surge.

To see the tsunami evacuation maps, click here or look in the front of the phone book.

If you have to evacuate to a shelter, beware that they are crowded, noisy places with no food or services. If you go, bring all of your own supplies. “If you can shelter at home, it’s the best option,” Cummings said.

See the list of shelters here


Apartment dwellers should remove everything from their balconies. A hurricane can turn anything they leave out into a projectile.  Consider throwing waterproof patio furniture into the swimming pool for safe keeping. “You can fish it out later,” Cummings said.

Hurricane season in Hawaii runs from June to November. “November will not come soon enough for me,” Cummings said.



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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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