Hurricane Lester No Longer Strong Threat to Hawaii Islands

At 1100 PM HST (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Lester was located by U.S. Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft near near latitude 21.2 North, longitude 152.4 West.

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Lester is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue through Saturday night with a gradual turn toward the northwest expected on Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 100 mph (155 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 982 mb (29.00 inches).

 

Hawaii DLNR Responding to Changing Hurricane Lester Forecasts

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is responding to changing forecasts for Hurricane Lester by issuing the following update on area closures:

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Division of State Parks camping and lodging announcement for September 2 through 5 – Labor Day Weekend:

All State Parks will remain open for Labor Day weekend – unless any changes in storm behavior indicate a need for closure

Hawai‘i island: Camping and overnight lodging facilities are now re-opened.

Maui: Camping and lodging facilities remain closed.

O‘ahu: Due to the current variable in storm conditions resulting in the Hurricane Watch still in effect as of Friday, September 2, camping areas remain closed Friday night.

Kaua‘i: Camping facilities are open

However, if storm warnings are lifted either Friday night or early Saturday morning, email notifications will be sent out to the approximately 85 O‘ahu camping permittees  to notify them that their camping permits will allow them to camp starting September 3, Saturday night.

Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW):

Hawai‘i Island:

All forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves and Na Ala Hele hiking trails are reopened.  DOFAW campgrounds will remain closed through the weekend.  The Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Hunt for Labor Day weekend has been rescheduled for September 24-25, 2016. For further information, contact the Kamuela DOFAW office at (808) 887-6063.

Maui

All forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves and Na Ala Hele hiking trails remain closed. There will be a makeup Lana‘i mouflon sheep rifle hunt on October 29-30, 2016 for those hunters impacted by this cancellation. For further information, contact the Maui DOFAW office at (808) 984-8100.

O‘ahu

All forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves and Na Ala Hele hiking trails remain open.

Kaua‘i

All forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves and Na Ala Hele hiking trails remain open.

DLNR is asking for the public’s cooperation with these area closures as the storm approaches.

Additional announcements may follow over the weekend, and updates will be provided to news media and on the department’s website.

People are advised to avoid forested and coastal areas due to potential for rising streams, flash flooding, falling trees or high surf as well as ocean water surging and sweeping across beaches and rocky coastal benches and lava flows.  High surf may create the potential for impacts to coastal properties and infrastructure, including roadways.  Powerful longshore and rip currents will be present at most beaches.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Update on Hurricane Lester

This is a Hurricane Lester information update for Friday September 2nd, at 6:30 PM.

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At 5 PM, the National Weather Service reported that Hurricane Lester was located 270 miles east-northeast of Hilo, moving west-northwest at 14 MPH with maximum sustained winds at 105 MPH.

Hurricane Lester is expected to pass north of the Big Island early Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for east facing shores until 6 PM tomorrow evening. Surf heights of 15-25 feet are expected for Big Island east-facing shores. The public is advised to avoid east-facing shore areas.

For those impacted from High Surf, shelters are open at Pahoa Community Center and at Keaukaha – Kawananakoa Gym.

Civil Defense will continue to track the storm and maintain close communications with the National Weather Service.

Parents Urged to Complete Federal Impact Aid Survey Card – Funding Benefits ALL Public Schools Statewide

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will be sending a U.S. Department of Education Federal Survey Card home with Hawaii’s public school students for parents to complete beginning Wednesday, September 7, 2016.

Over $40 million in Impact Aid funds was received in SY15-16, benefitting all public schools in Hawaii. Parents are urged to complete and return the surveys beginning Sept. 7th.  Photo Credit: Department of Education

Over $40 million in Impact Aid funds was received in SY15-16, benefiting all public schools in Hawaii. Parents are urged to complete and return the surveys beginning Sept. 7th. Photo Credit: Department of Education

Completed Impact Aid Program survey cards allow HIDOE to qualify for a partial reimbursement for educating federally connected students, such as children whose parents work or live on federal property. The program was created to assist school districts that lose tax revenues (e.g. income, sales and property taxes) due to a federal presence. Received funds go to all local school districts, just like local property taxes, and can be used to hire teachers, purchase textbooks and computers, pay for utilities and more. Parents are strongly urged to complete the surveys and return them to their schools as soon as possible.

“Impact Aid funds are extremely important to support all our public schools statewide and help to improve quality education for our students,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, HIDOE Superintendent. “During the 2015-16 school year, the state accounted for 27,660 federally connected students and received more than $40 million in Impact Aid funding.  We ask all parents for their cooperation to complete these important surveys.”

Completed survey forms will benefit students at all public schools statewide.  Federal reimbursements help to offset such costs as student transportation, school utilities, substitute teachers, portable classrooms and many others necessities.

Without these federal funds, the Hawaii public school system would have $40 million to $50 million less per year to operate with and would need to reduce support for all schools to pay all its expenses. These funds benefit all students at all public schools. Parents are urged to complete and return the surveys.

Every public school has a 100-percent return rate goal and asks that parents complete and return the federal survey next week. Please visit our Impact Aid Program webpage for more information and common questions.

Coast Guard Still Monitoring Hurricane Lester

The Coast Guard urges mariners and beach goers to exercise extreme caution with the arrival of Hurricane Lester over Labor Day weekend.

Hurricane Manual

Residents and visitors throughout Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Hurricane Lester is expected to generate extremely dangerous off shore sea conditions with maximum wave heights of 35-feet and winds in excess of 74 mph. In the coastal environment high surf of exceeding 20-feet is expected to impact beaches creating dangerous currents and rip tides.  Even the best swimmers can fall victim to strong storm-generated waves and currents. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Near-shore waters may become contaminated due to runoff up to several days following a storm.

Mariners should secure their boats and boating equipment. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. Smaller boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding and is protected for high winds. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels should be secured or removed.

Currently all commercial ports are open throughout the main Hawaiian Islands.

Note: There are no anticipated port closures at this time, however port closures are subject to change depending on the path of the storm.

The Coast Guard will continue to broadcast Notice to Mariners and post Marine Safety Information Bulletins on http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmDistrict&region=14 to notify the future closing of ports and any special conditions.

A PDF version of the Hawai’i Boater’s Hurricane and Tsunami Safety Manual can be found at the following link: http://seagrant.noaa.gov/SeaGrantSearch/TabId/526/ArtMID/3568/ArticleID/354/Hawai%e2%80%98i-Boater%e2%80%99s-Hurricane-and-Tsunami-Safety-Manual.aspx.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit the National Hurricane Center’s Web page at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Informational Meeting for Manta Ray Viewing Rules Rescheduled

A public information meeting planned this weekend to discuss new, proposed rules for the Makako Bay and Keauhou manta ray viewing sites has been rescheduled due to the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Lester. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Boating and Ocean Recreation Division (DOBOR) will now hold the meeting on Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palamanui Campus of Hawaii Community College, 73-4255 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Room B-126, in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i.

manta Ray

Manta ray viewing opportunities on the Kona coast are unique worldwide  Tours are conducted in two specific areas where mantas tend to congregate at night to feed on plankton — Makako Bay (Garden Eel Cove) and the coastline fronting the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Hotel.  The activity has become so popular in recent years that it has reached a point that is unsustainable and unsafe. Regulation is needed to preserve the resource and address the dangers posed by overcrowding of boats and swimmers/divers in the water.

The first part of the meeting to be held on September 24 will be devoted to discussing the history of manta ray viewing on the Kona coast. The second part of the meeting will be to present DOBOR’s proposed management plan in detail and collect feedback from all interested stakeholders.

DOBOR staffers have been working closely with DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources staff, commercial tour operators, the staff of the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Hotel and other stakeholders to draft administrative rules to mitigate environmental hazards and decrease the potential risk for accidents causing harm to people or manta rays.

In 2016 DOBOR has been surveying the two manta viewing sites to determine where and how additional moorings could be placed to alleviate coral damage from vessel anchoring and allow for a safe, sustainable and environmentally conscious regulation of commercial manta diving activities.

DOBOR has drafted a proposed management plan and potential management options for the sites based on two years of collected stakeholder input.  The proposed management plan contemplates strategies such as prohibiting anchoring at the sites, limiting the number of commercial operators, prohibiting rafting, and restricting live boating to improve safety.

In order to give stakeholders time to review the proposed management plan before the September 24 meeting, DOBOR will release the plan on its website on September 10, 2016.  Interested parties can access the proposed management plan and get meeting updates by visiting DOBOR’s meeting announcement page: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/meetings/

Hawaii Governor Signs Supplement Proclamation for Hurricane Lester

Gov. David Ige signed a supplemental emergency proclamation as the state prepares for possible impacts by Hurricane Lester. The supplemental proclamation authorizes the Department of Transportation to take prompt, expeditious action in dealing with preemptive, emergency and restorative work and repairs to Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa on O‘ahu’s north shore.

Click to read full proclamation

Click to read full proclamation

The original proclamation, signed on Aug. 30, authorizes the expenditure of state monies for quick and efficient relief of disaster-related damages, losses and suffering resulting from the storm.

New Lava Flow Map Released

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field at the coast. The area of the active flow field as of August 19 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on September 1 is shown in red. The base is a Digital Globe image from January 2016.

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Lava deltas – the new land accreted to the front of an older sea cliff – are prone to collapse because the loose underwater lava rubble on which they are built can sometimes become unstable and slide. The interaction of the hot rock composing the delta and cold seawater has led to violent explosions that blasted rocks in all directions, caused local tsunami, and produced billowing plumes of ash and hot, acidic steam.

The dotted line surrounding the Kamokuna lava delta indicates a distance of 300 m (790 ft), which is the maximum documented distance that rocks and spatter have been thrown inland from the older sea cliff by delta explosions that occurred during the Puʻu ʻŌʻō eruption. It is possible that debris could be thrown even farther during exceptionally large explosions

Hurricane Had Little Impact on Pu’u O’o

Calm after the storm—a beautiful day on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone. Rain from Hurricane Madeline had little impact on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, shown here, or lava flow 61g.

hvo9216View of the lava pond within the Puʻu ʻŌʻō west pit crater, which is about 50 m (164 ft) across. Weak spattering on the lava pond surface, about 23 m (75 ft) below the crater rim, is visible through the thick volcanic gas cloud

hvo9216aAn aerial view of a new breakout (light-colored flow at center of image) from the 61g tube. The breakout began with some vigor on the morning August 29, but today it was sluggish, with only a few scattered pāhoehoe toes still active on the margins of the flow.

Active breakout from head of tube system

Active breakout from head of tube system

View of the 61g flow field, from Puʻu ʻŌʻō (visible on top, left horizon) to the westernmost ocean entry at the coast, where lava spills into the sea, creating a lava delta.

Fume emanating from the flow field—on the coastal plain (above the ocean entry) and high on the pali (cliff) in the far distance—delineate part of the active tube system that carries lava from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent to the sea.

Fume emanating from the flow field—on the coastal plain (above the ocean entry) and high on the pali (cliff) in the far distance—delineate part of the active tube system that carries lava from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent to the sea.

A closer view of where lava is entering the sea along a 1.1-km- (0.7-mi-) wide section of the coastline. There is no evidence that high surf from Hurricane Madeline had any impact on the lava deltas that have formed, and continue to grow, at the ocean entries.

Discoloration of the ocean water is caused by fragments of volcanic glass, which are produced when hot lava enters cool seawater and shatters into tiny pieces that are carried by currents along the shore.

Discoloration of the ocean water is caused by fragments of volcanic glass, which are produced when hot lava enters cool seawater and shatters into tiny pieces that are carried by currents along the shore.

Hurricane Lester Moving Away From Hawaii

At 500 PM HST (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Lester was located near latitude 20.5 North, longitude 151.0 West.

Lester3Lester is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue through Saturday night with a gradual turn toward the northwest expected on Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph (165 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 973 mb (28.74 inches).

Chief Justice Appoints Dakota K.M. Frenz as Hawaii Island District Family Court Judge

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has appointed Dakota K.M. Frenz to the District Family Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii).  Frenz will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Lloyd X. Van De Car.

Dakota K.M. Frenz

Dakota K.M. Frenz

Ms. Frenz served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the County of Hawaii from 2006 – 2012 handling cases in the district, family, and circuit courts; and since 2012 has been in private practice, including criminal law, family law, and civil litigation/collections.

Ms. Frenz is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Kuikahi Mediation Center and an arbitrator with the Court Annexed Arbitration Program.  She also volunteers with the Friends of Drug Court and the Self-Help Center in East Hawaii.

Frenz is a graduate of Whittier Law School and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2006.

The Chief Justice appoints District Court judges from a list of not less than six nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission.  If confirmed by the State Senate, Frenz will serve a term of six years.

Big Island Police Seek ID of Man Riding Bicycle

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating several thefts in the area of Apapane Street in the Keaukaha section of Hilo.
Bike Thief
Over the last few weeks several thefts have been reported. A man described as local, in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5-foot-9 to six-feet tall, 180-200 pounds, was seeing taking items and leaving the area on a bicycle.

Officers want to question a man whose image was captured on a surveillance camera. Police ask anyone who knows his identity to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 and ask for Officer Matthew Lewis.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Police remind the public to lock vehicles, remove bags, purses, backpacks and other personal belongings, and not leave valuables unattended while visiting beaches and parks.

Most Areas in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Now Open

Most areas previously closed within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park due to Hurricane Lester are now open.

Visitors drive down Chain of Craters Road Friday afternoon. NPS Photo

Visitors drive down Chain of Craters Road Friday afternoon. NPS Photo

Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by the Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC, remains closed this afternoon due to tree hazards, but should open Saturday.

Park rangers opened Chain of Craters Road, all backcountry campsites and trails, the coastal lava viewing area, and Mauna Loa Road under sunny skies Friday afternoon, much to the delight of visitors eager to explore the park during the long Labor Day weekend.

Visitors to the park’s coastal areas are reminded that although the hurricane watch was canceled for Hawai‘i Island as Hurricane Lester moves to the west-northwest, a high surf warning remains in effect for all east-facing shorelines.

“We urge all park visitors to maintain a safe distance from the shoreline, whether viewing lava at the Kamokuna ocean entry, hiking the Puna Coast Trail, or camping at any of the coastal campsites,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “We are anticipating surf up to 25 feet tonight and possibly through the weekend,” he said.

The Kahuku Unit will be open on Saturday and Sunday, with no cancellations to any guided hikes or programs.

Backcountry campers are reminded that all overnight stays require a backcountry permit. Permits can be obtained up to 24 hours in advance from the backcountry office, located at the Visitor Emergency Operations Center, and open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.