East Hawaii News

HEMA, Coast Guard Maintain Watch on Storm

August 4, 2015, 4:17 PM HST
* Updated August 4, 4:23 PM
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The Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency continues its efforts alongside local civil defense agencies and partners as potential impacts of Tropical Storm Guillermo continue to be monitored.

As of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. tropical weather outlook, Tropical Storm Guillermo was about 370 miles east of Hilo.

“We have been advised by the National Weather Service that although Guillermo is slowly weakening, we may still be vulnerable to the storm’s impacts,” said Doug Mayne, Administrator of Emergency Management. “Residents and visitors alike should continue preparing to ensure the safety of their dwellings and families in the event of heavy rainfall, which has the potential to affect all islands through Thursday.”

While Tropical Storm Guillermo is expected to continue to head in a northwest direction above the islands. The storm is also expected to weaken as it continues on its path and wind shear increases.

Recent forecasts predict that the center of Tropical Storm Guillermo will pass 230 miles northeast of Hilo on Wednesday afternoon.

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A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for the Big Island and Maui County. Under a Tropical Storm Watch, tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area. Flash flood watches are also in effect both on the Big Island and in Maui County.

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HEMA is warning the public that flash flooding is possible even if it is not raining heavily in the current area.

The following safety and preparedness tips are offered by HEMA in relation to potential flooding:

  •  Be aware of streams, drainage channels, roads, and other areas known to flood suddenly.
  • Use 9-1-1 only to report life-threatening emergencies.
  • Make sure to monitor local broadcasters and/or sign up for local notification systems if you live in a flood prone area.
  • Gather important documents, such as your flood insurance policy. Flood losses are not covered under normal homeowners’ insurance policies.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur quickly and without warning. Be prepared to evacuate and move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Secure your home and elevate essential items. Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Do not attempt to cross fast moving water, especially if you are unsure of the depth.
  • Check with local officials and the Department of Land and Natural Resources if you plan to hike or camp next week.
  • Follow the Department of Education online at for the latest information on possible school closures. Make sure you know the closure notification procedure if your children attend a private or charter school.
  • Visitors should download and read the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Travel Safety Brochure.

The United States Coast Guard suggests that the public use caution and prepare for severe weather expected to generate extreme sea conditions, storm surge, high surf, and heavy rains throughout the islands.

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“We remain vigilant as storms can intensify suddenly, as we saw with Soudelor, or change course,” said Lt. Justin Gear, command duty officer, Coast Guard 14th District command center. “Err on the side of caution, no one should underestimate the potential for dangerous storm conditions. Guillermo is expected to pass the Hawaiian Islands by late Thursday and we will continue to monitor it into the far Western Pacific.”

Those visiting the islands are urged to heed warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officals.

“No port closures are anticipated but we are keeping in close contact with our port partners, allowing us to react quickly if the storm intensifies or changes course and other action is warranted,” said Cmdr. Ulysses Mullins, chief of prevention, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu

Mariners should protect their boats and equipment by securing the vessels. Large boats should be moved to areas where will be less likely to break free of their moorings.

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