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State Braces for High Winds

January 14th, 2009 by Ryan Ozawa · 2 Comments · Miscellaneous

High winds with gusts of up to 60 to 70 miles per hour may buffet the state tomorrow and Friday, and government officials met today to discuss contingency and communications plans. The National Weather Service, State Civil Defense, and other agencies initiated talks this morning, gearing up for stormy conditions compared to those that hit the state in December 2007.

A low pressure system northwest of Kauai, combined with a cold front passing over the islands, is expected to impact Kauai, Oahu, and Maui, and to some extent the Big Island, according to a notice distributed within the state Department of Health. Sustained winds from the west and southwest may range from 30 to 50 miles per hour, but gusts could be much stronger.

Depending on the severity, the storm could affect schools, utilities, hospitals, and other key facilities.

There may be heavy rains, but the wind is the top concern, with the brunt of the storm expected to hit late Thursday and early Friday.  The areas of greatest impact are projected to be:

  • Kauai – the East and the Northeast sections.
  • Oahu – central Oahu, North Shore, Windward areas.
  • Maui – NE side of Molokai, central valley, West Maui and Haleakala.

Residents and businesses are advised to take the usual precautions to protect people and property. These include identifying vulnerabilities such as loose roofing and other debris, trimming trees and shrubs near buildings, storing heavy objects low to the ground, and securing anything that might topple or blow around.

The high winds will also bring high surf, and waves of up to 25 feet have been forecast for the North Shore of Oahu.

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