HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Hurricane Douglas roars toward the island chain, experts and officials are urging everyone to get ready.
“Everybody should be taking this really seriously and preparing as though they could get a direct hit,” said Robert Ballard, science and operations officer at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
On Hawaii Island, Mayor Harry Kim said sand bags are being distributed, trees are being trimmed and vacant hotels are also being considered as back-up shelters.
“We have one additional resource that we did not have before and that’s because the hotels are empty,” Kim said.
“And that would be, for the most part, the strongest buildings on the island of Hawaii.”
Buying new storm supplies is a challenge for many families struggling financially during the pandemic.
Kim said he is looking at grants to help residents get supplies.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency recommends stocking up on 14 days worth of food and supplies.
“Obviously, COVID-19 has challenged that on many levels with some of the financial insecurity throughout the state,” said Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Luke Meyers.
The Hawaii Foodbank says it prepared for this very challenge and currently has an 18-day supply of food for those in need.
Emergency officials say even in a pandemic and uncertain economic times, preparing now could avoid disaster later.
“We want the public not to specifically focus on the exact tracks that are being outlined, but to take a preparedness theme home with them,” said Meyers. “And get ready for a long weekend of rain, wind and maybe some landslides.”