City prepares for storm conditions ahead of Ana

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell

The City and County of Honolulu is preparing for severe weather as Ana approaches Hawaii.

However, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city will not be issuing an emergency declaration at this time.

“We do not want to create hurricane fatigue and we’re very comfortable with the information we’re getting from the National Weather Service,” he said. “We believe we have time to take action should for some reason the eye of this hurricane move more toward the north, toward us.”

But Caldwell says preparations are underway. “We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” he said. Officials say the city’s emergency operations center is currently at minimal staffing but will be activated soon.

Five pet-friendly shelters will open at 4 p.m. Saturday at Brigham Young University, Farrington High School, Leilehua High School, Nanakuli High School and Waimanalo Elementary School. All pets need to be leashed or in a cage.

Call 768-CITY (2489) for free transportation to your nearest emergency shelter. That number will serve as a non-emergency storm-related hotline for the duration of Ana. Do not call Emergency Medical Services, Caldwell said.

TheBus and Handi-Van will be on regular service, including their normal Saturday and Sunday schedules, until further notice.

Trash pickup will take place as normal, and the landfill, convenience centers and transfer stations will remain open on Sunday, unless there is substantive rainfall that causes localized flooding.

“Put your carts away on Saturday, your refuse collection carts. Don’t leave them unsecured where they can blow around if we get extra wind,” said Tim Houghton, Environmental Services Deputy Director. “Also, at the end of the day on Saturday, put your bulky items away if they have not yet been collected.”

City parks will remain open, as well as Honolulu Zoo and golf courses. “Please use discretion here,” Caldwell said. “If we’re having heavy rain and downpours, do not go to the park.”

The exception is Hanauma Bay, which will be closed on Sunday. All camping permits have been revoked.

Caldwell is also asking the public to avoid going into the water at this time, especially due to run-off and brown water as a result of rain.

Ocean safety crews are monitoring Sandy Beach, Makapuu, Waikiki and offshore reefs in Kailua — areas where the first indicators of storm surf come in.

“It’s going to be rough. It’s going to be choppy. There’s going to be a lot of water moving,” said Ocean Safety Chief Jim Howe. “We’re going to have strong currents and most likely, we’re going to have pretty good-sized surf in some fairly unusual areas, especially in the east and south shores.”

Howe says Oahu could start to see ocean conditions intensify between 10 a.m. and noon Saturday.

Crews with city Department of Facility Maintenance were out in full force Friday, tending to areas prone to flooding.

One crew took down trees at Kahana State Park to prevent them from falling.

Another crew was out in Hauula clearing a storm drain near Waimanama Bridge. Two days ago, crews pushed sand off to the side by the bridge to clear the stream itself.

Residents there are also being extra vigilant about protecting their homes after Tropical Storm Wali dumped a lot of rain which triggered a flood in July.

“We’re going to be sandbagging. We’ll be pulling out everything from the front of the house, back of the house, moving everything into the shed, moving everything from downstairs to upstairs, although there’s not anything downstairs anymore because of the last storm,” said Hauula resident Holly Smith.

A meeting with landowners and the government will be held at the Hauula Civic Center on Oct. 28 to discuss how to prevent flooding in the future.

Residents are asked to tie down loose belongings on their properties and yards ahead of strong winds. All barriers that block storm drains at construction sites should be removed.

“If your street is flooded, please do not open manhole covers to try and drain your street,” said Ross Sasamura, Director of Facility Maintenance. “It poses a tremendous problem not only from the sewage disposal and treatment area, but it also poses as a road hazard for people that may not expect a large hole in the street and drive into it inadvertently.”

Ana strengthened to hurricane status Friday morning and forecasters predict Oahu will feel the storm’s effects early Sunday.

Watch the city’s full press conference below:

Kamehameha Hwy., Hauula
Kamehameha Hwy., Hauula

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