WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its National Watch Center in Washington and its Pacific Area Office in Oahu, is continuing to monitor Hurricanes Iselle and Julio in the Pacific Ocean. FEMA is in close contact with emergency management partners in Hawaii.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Iselle is about 900 miles east southeast of Honolulu with sustained winds of 85 MPH, and Hurricane Julio is about 1,650 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii, with sustained winds of 75 MPH. Tropical storm conditions are possible on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday. These adverse weather conditions may spread to Maui County and Oahu Thursday night or Friday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Hawaii County, and tropical storm watches are in effect for Maui County and Oahu.
“I urge residents and visitors to follow the direction of state and local officials,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “Be prepared and stay tuned to local media – weather conditions can change quickly as these storms approach.”
When disasters occur, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public’s health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.
Although there have been no requests for federal disaster assistance at this time, FEMA has personnel on the ground who are positioned in the Pacific Area Office year round. An Incident Management Assistance Team has also been deployed to Hawaii to coordinate with state and local officials, should support be requested, or needed.
At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories.
Safety and Preparedness Tips
Residents and visitors in potentially affected areas should be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for their pets.
Storm surge can be the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical storm or hurricane. It poses a significant threat for drowning and can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area. Storm surge can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.
Get to know the terms that are used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.
For a Tropical Storm:
A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 MPH or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.
For Flash Flooding:
A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding.
A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.
A Flash Flood Emergency is issued when severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is imminent or ongoing.
More safety tips on hurricanes and tropical storms can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.