Be storm-ready; key tips to know when a tropical cyclone approaches

Forecasts may change, but it’s important to be prepared in case the worst happens.

The latest forecast has Hurricane Madeline tracking slightly south of the state, Wednesday through Friday, first as a hurricane then as a tropical storm.

Meanwhile Lester, also a hurricane, isn’t far behind and is expected to veer north of the islands Saturday.

If you haven’t done so yet, now is a good time to gather supplies for your hurricane kit.

Click here for a full breakdown of what you need in your hurricane kit.

From Hawaii Electric Light:

General

  • Know the emergency warning signals and where shelters are located
  • Place important documents such as insurance papers in waterproof bags or containers
  • Fill up the gas tank of your car
  • Keep cash or travelers checks on hand
  • Should you need to evacuate, take emergency supplies and remember to shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch.

Outside the home

  • Tie down or store all loose objects
  • Bring potted plants into the house
  • Fill up the gas tank of your car
  • Remove and store lanai furniture
  • Throw deck furniture into the pool
  • Cover all windows and door openings with boards, shutters or other shielding materials
  • For cooking, purchase butane, propane or a canned heat stove and enough fuel for 3-5 days, or a charcoal grill and charcoal. Do not use these units indoors
  • Properly secure propane tanks in a cool, dry and well-ventilated storage area
  • If you have photovoltaic panels installed on your roof, consult your licensed solar contractor regarding normal and emergency operation procedures for your system

Inside the home

  • Check emergency equipment such as flashlights, emergency generators, battery-operated, hand-crank, or solar-powered radios, light sticks and lanterns
  • Unplug electric appliances you may not need or use
  • Stock up on non-perishable foods, medications, personal hygiene, sanitary and baby supplies to last about 7 days
  • Purchase bottled water or store enough for one gallon per person per day, for about 7 days
  • Keep a first aid kit and special medications
  • Pack a manual can opener and bottle opener
  • Turn your refrigerator/freezer to the coldest setting; in the event of a power outage, food will keep fresh longer
  • Stock an ice chest with ice or frozen ice packs
  • Wedge a dowel or a piece of broom handle into the track of sliding glass doors to secure them
  • Store matches or a lighter in a waterproof container. Keep a whistle to signal for help
  • If you own a pet, have extra pet food and water

Medical patients

  • Home health care patients should discuss emergency plans with your physician or agency representative beforehand and make appropriate arrangements
  • If necessary, make prior arrangements with a hospital to stay there if you must evacuate
  • If you must go to a hospital or emergency facility, be sure to take your medicines and medical equipment/supplies with you

From the U.S. Coast Guard:

Boaters can monitor the progress of the storm on VHF channel 16. Small craft advisories and warnings are also broadcast on VHF channel 16.

The public is urged to heed all evacuation orders. Mariners should seek safe harbor and shelter.

Additionally, mariners should secure their boats and boating equipment. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. Smaller boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding and is protected from high winds. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels should be secured or removed.

Visitors to Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf may impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to strong storm-generated waves and currents. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Near-shore waters may become contaminated due to runoff for several days following a storm.

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