Emergency crews, volunteers on standby in preparation for Hurricane Ignacio

Because of Hurricane Ignacio, Hawaii emergency crews are already on standby alert, and officials are asking residents to also be prepared because there’s greater potential for flooding and mudslides.

Officials are placing their priorities on keeping residents informed and making sure the roads are clear so emergency crews can get to those who need help.

With the downpours we’ve seen this week, city officials said crews have been clearing the island’s streams and canals.

“Trying to just keep all the roads passable, the streams all cleared, and it’s a constant cyclical problem here,” said emergency management director Mel Kaku. “Whenever you have successive storms, one of the big challenges is that there’s never enough time to dry out in a sense that we always get wet, the grounds are heavily saturated already.”

With Ignacio closest to the Big Island, officials there are expecting to feel the storm’s impacts by tomorrow with high surf and storm surges, so residents in vulnerable areas there are being warned.

“Tomorrow, we’ll be sending personnel door-to-door in some of those low lying areas, such as the Kapoho Vacationland beach lot areas and all the way through Paradise Park and even here in Hilo at the Kings Landing area,” said Darryl Oliveira, Big Island Civil Defense Director.

And if the storm hits Oahu, emergency shelters need to be ready. More than a hundred volunteers, mostly city workers, signed up for a training session with the American Red Cross Friday, so they can help check people in at the shelters.

“I think we just want to help out people, be there, ’cause I would want to be helped out if I was in that situation,” said volunteer Jill Narimatsu.

The American Red Cross said that hundreds of volunteers are already on standby throughout the state, and it’s asking residents to make sure that, if it’s possible, to bring their own supplies to the shelter.

Red Cross Hawaii Chapter CEO Coralie Matayoshi emphasized that you should already have a bag of necessities packed and ready to go, just in case you do need to go to an emergency shelter. “When you come to a shelter, you should bring your own bedding and food and medication and all of that, and then we can help others who can’t help themselves,” she said.

Officials also caution about having “storm fatigue” in light of the near-misses we’ve had in dealing with Guillermo and Kilo. They say this is not the time to let your guard down.

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