As Guillermo looms, state civil defense warns residents to stay prepared - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

As Guillermo looms, state civil defense warns residents to stay prepared

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Ed Teixeira Ed Teixeira
The state civil defense team at work. The state civil defense team at work.
The state civil defense tracks Guillermo. The state civil defense tracks Guillermo.
Felicia looms off Oahu's east shore. Felicia looms off Oahu's east shore.
Hurricane Iniki causes damage to Kauai' in 1992. Hurricane Iniki causes damage to Kauai' in 1992.

By Leland Kim - bio | email

DIAMOND HEAD (KHNL)  -  As we're seeing with Felicia, it may not be over when we think it's over.   These storms can be very unpredictable, and the state civil defense says it's too early to put our guard down.

Besides tropical storm Guillermo, there may be other systems that could come our way.  We are in the middle of hurricane season, so the state civil defense says, it's important to stay vigilant.

Hawaii got lucky, avoiding the brunt of Felicia's power.  The hurricane ran out of gas and fizzled into a tropical depression before reaching our shores.

Felicia concerned state civil defense officials because it came from the southeast and our islands are configured in a northwesterly alignment.

"So the storm would have tracked right across all of our islands instead of clipping one from north to south or from south to north," said Ed Teixeira, the state civil defense's vice director.

We weren't so lucky in 1992 when hurricane Iniki pummeled Kauai.  It damaged more than 14,000 homes.

"It can happen and it has happened in the past," said Teixeira. "We need to be constantly prepared for the effects of strong storms."

Now, we're looking at tropical storm Guillermo, 1,500 miles from us, which could become a hurricane, just like Felicia.

And the two storms are behaving in a similar fashion.   This was Felicia's track the past few days.  The concern is Guillermo's forecast path so far is very similar to Felicia's.

"We could be in a position Sunday night or Monday, as we were last weekend, watching Felicia," said Teixeira.  "That particular storm Guillermo could be about 900 miles southeast or east of the state."

The state has received some criticism from the public for "overreacting" to Felicia.  But the state doesn't think so.  It remained flexible and adjusted its plans every six hours as new information became available.

"I believe those particular moves and those plans were just about right," said Teixeira.  "And if it went stronger, we were in a position then to do a lot more."

As Guillermo looms in the distance, the state says, it's better to be prepared, than scramble at the last minute.

We still have more than three months to go of hurricane season, so we could see more of these strong storm systems developing close to our islands.