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City urges residents to be prepared for incoming storms

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    Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a press conference at Fasi Municipal Building in Honolulu on Sunday, August 30, 2015 to update the public on two storms expected to effect the state of Hawaii in the coming days.

Hurricane Ignacio is on a downward trend and moving on a more northerly track away from Hawaii, but residents must stay prepared and informed as the storm is expected to bring near tropical storm-force winds and large waves to the islands, said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell at a press conference Sunday. 

He said Ignacio, a category 4 hurricane about 140 miles east of Hilo, could begin impacting Oahu about 6 a.m. Tuesday. 

Waves could reach advisory levels of 10 to 15 feet on east and southeast-facing shores and parts of Oahu could receive 3 to 6 inches of rain, he said. 

Caldwell and other city officials made several announcements at the press briefing Sunday morning at the city’s Emergency Operations Center: 

>> Schools are expected to be open Monday and Tuesday. 

>> Following the state’s lead, city employees should report to work Monday and Tuesday. 

>> The Coast Guard is not planning to close any commercial ports because of the storm. 

>> Be flexible and stay informed of the changing storm conditions.

Melvin Kaku, director of the city’s Department of Emergency Management, said significant changes can happen in a matter of hours and the storm could move outside of the cone of its projected path. 

He said Ignacio is the 12th storm condition in Hawaii since the beginning of this hurricane season, one of the busiest he can recall since joining the department about six years ago. Sunday is the midway point of the six-month hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30. 

Caldwell pointed out three category 4 hurricanes — Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena — lined up across the Pacific on a map and said it was the first time since record keeping began that there have been three category 4 hurricanes moving near Hawaii at the same time. 

Hurricane Kilo passed Hawaii last week, bringing heavy rains that caused sewage spills on Oahu, including one that closed Ala Moana Beach Park. 

Hurricane Jimena, still about 1,700 miles east of Hilo Sunday morning, could begin impacting the islands by the end of this week. 

“It’s pretty incredible,” said Caldwell, adding that residents should not let their guard down. “We’re going to be really lucky if we avoid the major impacts of these storms. But at some point we are going to get a direct hit. We need to be ready.”

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