That’s the message from the Maui County Civil Defense Agency as Hurricane Lester nears the islands.
A mayoral emergency proclamation was signed for Maui County in conjunction with Gov. David Ige’s statewide emergency declaration.
State and county officials on Maui weren’t taking any chances Friday. County employees were released at noon in conjunction with the early release of state employees, including Department of Education teachers and staff.
Shelter locations are on standby and ready to open if necessary. Locations will be announced if and when that happens.
“The track has moved and it looks more favorable for us, but we still have a relatively high probability of tropical storm force winds at this time, so we don’t want people to just look at the storm track and see that we’re not inside that cone any longer,” said Anna Foust, Maui County Emergency Management Office. “There’s still a possibility for very heavy rainfall, so although the track looks better for us, we’re still in a hurricane watch and there is still that probability of potential winds for us too.”
Hana Bay was closed Friday and Saturday. Other Maui County parks, beach parks, pools and other facilities will remain open this weekend, weather permitting, with the possible exception of Baldwin Beach Park.
A tree-planting ceremony in honor of Sen. Daniel Inouye Friday morning was postponed to a future date, and the Department of Water Supply Cashier’s Window in the County Building closed at 11 a.m.
“The County made every preparation we could for Madeline and we remain prepared for Hurricane Lester,” said Managing Director Keith Regan. “I ask that all of our residents and visitors prepare themselves as the storm could actually hit us this time. Be prepared, stay alert and stay informed. Now is not the time for complacency.”
Foust noted that “the probability that Maui County will experience tropical storm-force winds is significantly higher with Hurricane Lester than it was with Madeline. We are asking everyone to take this storm seriously, and to stay off the roads after about 9 p.m. Friday when winds may begin picking up. Now is the time to finish getting your emergency supplies together, and be prepared to shelter in-place for up to 24 hours as Lester passes through.”
State courthouses and judiciary offices in Maui County also closed at noon, including district courts on Molokai and Lanai, as well as the Children’s Justice Center, Office of the Public Guardian, and the Driver’s Education Office.
The Chief Justice issued an order extending deadlines for any Maui County court matters with a filing or hearing date of Friday, Sept. 2. All documents due during the court closure will be considered timely if filed by the close of business on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Hearings or trials canceled due to the closure of the courts shall be rescheduled to the next available date with due regard for any statutory mandates.