Travel Guidelines, Updates During Severe Weather
Residents and visitors who plan to travel over the weekend should continue to monitor current conditions through updates from the National Weather Service and Big Island Now as Hurricane Douglas moves closer to the Hawaiian Islands.
The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation said it is in communication with federal, state, and county officials to coordinate preparation for the potential effects of Hurricane Douglas. Updates on any actions or closures for airports, harbors, or highways related to severe weather will be posted on the HDOT website and on BigIslandNow.com.
As a reminder, storm readiness actions and traveler tips for airports, harbors, and highways are:
In general, Hawai‘i airports will remain open during weather events unless there is damage to the runway or terminal facilities. However, the Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole may restrict passenger boarding and deplaning during high winds or heavy rains. Airport managers have required emergency preparedness measures and will adjust their readiness posture should storm conditions develop in their area.
Air travelers with confirmed tickets for travel into or out of Hawai‘i airports are encouraged to check with their airline for potential flight delays, cancellations, or travel waivers.
HDOT Harbors Division coordinates with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) regarding port readiness for heavy weather events. The USCG Captain of the Port sets port condition protocols (i.e., Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, and Zulu) based on changing weather conditions prior to storm impacts. Commercial ports for Maui and Hawai‘i County were set at Port Condition Whiskey as of 8 a.m., Thursday, July 23.
Commercial vessels requesting to remain or enter the port are required to submit their mooring plans to the USCG and to the respective commercial harbor master with HDOT Harbors. The Harbor Master Notice providing instructions and forms can be obtained online.
With over 98% of all imported goods being shipped through Hawai‘i’s ports, all ports will remain open and operational for as long as safely possible ahead of a storm making landfall to ensure the greatest amount of delivery of goods to the community.
HDOT Highways Division pre-staging procedures include checking drainage systems along state routes to ensure they are clear prior to rain impacts; notifying crews of possible emergency call outs and procedures; securing of state base yards; and topping off equipment and generators. Notification is also made to contractors working on state highways to prepare to remove BMPs and secure work areas.
General storm preparedness advice for motorists includes:
- Keep your gas tank at least half-full in case you need to evacuate or move to higher ground.
- Make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and use your headlights if you are driving in rainy conditions. Turning on your headlights increases your visibility and helps make other drivers aware of you.
- Do not drive through fast-moving water or water of indeterminable depth. You could stall out your car or your vehicle could be washed away. As little as 24-inches of moving water could possibly wash away a vehicle.
- Do not drive in high winds, especially in high profile vehicles as you risk your vehicle being pushed by winds or rolled over.
- After a hurricane or wind event, be cautious on the road as debris and live electrical lines could cause damage to you and your vehicle. Do not ever try to move a downed line yourself.