Mayor Caldwell asks everyone to take storm seriously

Mayor Caldwell asks everyone to take storm seriously; city prepares for Ana
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell
City workers will be cleaning streams
City workers will be cleaning streams

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Preparations for a potential hurricane hitting Oahu are already underway for the City and County of Honolulu.

Based on Tropical Storm Ana's current path, it could hit the island on Sunday.

Although it's the weekend and most people won't be at work or in school, Mayor Kirk Caldwell still wants everyone to take the threat very seriously.

"We've dodged a lot of bullets. One of these days we're not gonna dodge a bullet. And I would hate to be the mayor and say we didn't take it seriously because so many of them didn't turn out to be anything. We're taking it seriously and we want every single resident and visitor on this island to take it seriously and be ready for the worst," said Caldwell.

On Wednesday, staff members from the City's Emergency Operations Center discussed which shelters they may open. During Hurricane Iselle, ten shelters were available, five of which were pet friendly. Mayor Caldwell says they will probably do the same with Ana. He says they are not announcing where those shelters will be yet. He says it all depends on the storm's path and which area of the island will see the biggest impact.

Ana has the potential to bring damaging winds to the city. One major issue on Oahu is that there are giant trees along major roadways like Likelike Highway, Pali Highway, H-2 freeway and and all over Manoa. If a hurricane were to hit, arborists say Honolulu could look like Puna did after Hurricane Iselle.

Peter Hirai with the City's Department of Emergency Management says this is an ongoing problem they are working on but there is no quick fix.

"Unfortunately it's a difficult situation with so many of those trees happening that we cannot just eradicate them all on one fell swoop. I know that both the city and the state have been taking measures to try to protect against that, but unfortunately…this is one of those huge problems that's going to take a lot of effort on everybody's part," Hirai said.

Caldwell says crews will also be out cleaning ditches and streams to prevent any backlog in case of flooding. They are also deciding whether they need to suspend bus transportation services. There are some city and county employees who work on the weekends. The mayor says they are deciding who may be sent home and what essential workers may have to come in. He says no decision has been made yet.

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