State calls this year’s hurricane preparedness drill a success

Emergency operations center, Diamond Head

The Central Pacific hurricane season began on June 1 and ends November 30.

To stay prepared, the Hawaii Dept. of Defense ran its annual statewide hurricane preparedness exercise Wednesday.

The makani pahili, or “strong wind,” hurricane drill began early in the morning and while the storm itself wasn’t real, the response and training are.

“We can’t predict what exactly will happen, but there are indications that we should be prepared for an increased number of hurricanes,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The civil defense management center at Diamond Head Crater is the hub for communication and data coordination for the entire state when a hurricane hits.

“To give you an example, getting streaming video to all the neighbor island mayors and at the same time have the (Emergency Operations Center) see it here, it has been a two-year process and this year we were able to do all that,” said Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, state adjutant general.

Disaster and readiness planners say if a category five or stronger hurricane hits the state, more than 90 percent of homes could be damaged, so state disaster shelters are critical.

“We will make sure everyone knows where the shelters are and we have put in several million dollars into, at least $2 million, to strengthen the shelters out there,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

Overall, state officials were satisfied with Wednesday’s drill.

“The public as a whole can be confident that the professionals in charge of disaster management across Hawaii and the country are first rate,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

Officials are also encouraging the public to be prepared to keep their homes, family and pets safe.

KHON2 News will do its part to get Hawaii residents ready for the upcoming hurricane season with the special “Surviving a Storm,” airing at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 11.

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