Expert explains worst-case scenario should hurricane cut off Hawaii’s ports

Hurricane Fernanda is still thousands of miles away from the islands, but officials remind us it’s never too early to start preparing for this storm, or any storm.

We told you before the start of hurricane season that recommendations for your safety kit were changing this year.

The old recommendation to have a week’s worth of supplies was changed to two weeks. That’s because most of our supplies come in through Honolulu Harbor, and it would take at least two weeks after a major storm hits to reopen the harbors and get more supplies shipped here.

Click here for an updated hurricane kit checklist.

We wanted to find out more about the state’s emergency plans for our ports, so we reached out to the Department of Transportation and left a message. So far, no response.

So we turned to the Hawaii Shippers Council and asked its president, Mike Hansen, is two weeks enough?

“The only time it would not be is in the event of a major hurricane striking on the south coast of Oahu island, between the entrance to Honolulu Harbor and the entrance to Pearl Harbor. That is the worst-case scenario,” Hansen replied.

We’re told a direct hit on Oahu would greatly affect all islands.

“We get five container ship arrivals a week. There’s almost always a container ship in port discharging cargo,” Hansen said.

Though that may sound like a lot, there’s not always a surplus.

“Most of the businesses, the wholesale businesses that operate on imported goods, do so on a just-in-time inventory system,” Hansen said.

The city told KHON2 it is monitoring the storm and will send out alerts via the new HNL.Info alert system. Nearly 15,000 users have signed up since its launch last month.

That’s a big difference from the Nixle launch in 2010. Three-thousand users signed up within the first month, and there were 45,000 users when the city discontinued the Nixle alert service.

The city is now encouraging the public to sign up for HNL.Info.

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