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    October 2016
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Congress On Your Corner, Addresses Maritime Pilots, Supports Arts Education

This morning on Maui, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard delivered welcoming remarks and a congressional update to 250 maritime pilots who direct ship navigation in and out of Hawaiʻi, as well as the country’s twenty-four ocean-bordering states.

tulsi-maui4She spoke about Hawaii’s rich culture and history based on sea navigation; the importance of safe, environmentally responsible, and efficient maritime commerce; and the effects of dangerous trade agreements on our country. The congresswoman also met with Captain Nancy Wagner, the first female ship pilot in the United States—today, more than sixty women work in this capacity as a senior sea officer in charge of bringing a ship in and out of port and responsible for the safe navigation of huge cargo ships and tankers.

tulsi-mauiIn Congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard serves on the STEAM Caucus, which values the inclusion of Arts Education in conjunction with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Today, she toured the Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) facility and met with its directors to discuss the importance of their arts programs in schools and off-campus, which support literacy through the arts for students in grades 3-12.

tulsi-maui2This afternoon, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hosted a “Congress On Your Corner” event, where she visited with more than forty people from across Maui, listened to their ideas and concerns, and answered questions about her work in Congress and at home in Hawaiʻi. She also met with constituents and organization leaders in Makawao who are serving the needs of their community in various ways.

‘Ohana Health Plan Donates Fans to Help Maui Kids Stay Cool in School

Although a recent addition to the Maui Waena Intermediate School includes nine air-conditioned classrooms, many of the school’s 1,100 students are still in rooms with little relief from the Maui heat. To help create a better educational environment for all students, ‘Ohana Health Plan, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. company, today presented 40 tower and mini fans to the school.

ohana-health-plan-logo‘Ohana representatives were joined at the ceremony by Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutsui and State Representative Justin Woodson (D-9).

“There is a significant relationship between education and health. We thank Rep. Woodson for recognizing this and connecting ‘Ohana to a school in need,” said Scott Sivik, market vice president at ‘Ohana Health Plan. “The best learning takes place in comfortable settings, and we are honored to help create an environment at Maui Waena that helps every student have the opportunity to succeed.”

“I would like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for taking the initiative to engage with the community to help fill needs that assist students in the classroom and beyond,” said Rep. Woodson.

“A big mahalo to ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous fan donation to Maui Waena and for recognizing that it’s important for members of the community to pitch in to help create a conducive learning environment for our students,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “I’d also like to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for becoming a partner in other initiatives that support the overall health and well-being of our keiki, such as the R.E.A.C.H. Initiative.”

“I want to thank ‘Ohana Health Plan for its generous donation and really appreciate the community support of our school. It helps with student learning,” said Jamie Yap, principal at Maui Waena Intermediate School.

As of June 30, 2016, ‘Ohana Health Plan has more than 230 employees in Hawaii and serves approximately 57,000 members through its offices in Kapolei, Honolulu, Hilo and Kahului.

Public Information Meeting for Lahaina Ferry Pier Improvements

Maui legislators Rep. Angus McKelvey, Sen. Rosalyn Baker, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources are jointly hosting a public information meeting  on Thursday October 20, 2016, to provide an update on the design of the proposed Lahaina Small Boat Harbor ferry pier improvements.

lahaina-small-boat-harborThe meeting will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Na Aikane O Maui Cultural Center located at 526A Front Street in Lahaina.

The new interisland ferry pier will be located approximately 70 feet to the north of the existing public pier at the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor.  It will be approximately 115 feet long and 20 feet wide and will be on piles.

Construction will also include:

  • construction of a shade roof involving four open-sided, roofed structures 14 feet in height, connected by three open trellises on the ferry pier to shelter passengers during arrivals and departures;
  • construction of two sewage pump out stations;
  • construction of a concrete gangway measuring 16 feet by 70 feet to connect the existing pier with the new pier structure;
  • replacement of the existing harbor administration office; and
  • resurfacing of a portion of Wharf Street to facilitate safe passenger/pedestrian movement in and around the small boat harbor.

Hawaii Governor to Request Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance After Surveying Storm Damage

Gov. David Ige today toured Maui’s Iao Stream area, which suffered severe damage during last week’s storm. The governor was joined by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, State Adjutant General, Major General Arthur Logan, Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi and other government and emergency management officials for aerial and ground tours of the disaster site.

maui-storm1The tours follow initial assessments of the disaster area by the National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On Thursday, Gov. Ige took a 30-minute aerial tour of the site aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter before surveying the disaster site on the ground where he met with residents directly affected by the storm.

maui-storm4“It truly is a sobering reminder of the power of nature and to see the impact on the stream and the change of the flows that had a devastating effect on families, the state and county. I will be sending a letter to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance,” said Gov. Ige.

maui-storm3The governor also met with some of the 30 Hawai‘i Air and Army National Guard members who have been activated to clear out debris and boulders which have diverted the stream flow into residential areas along the stream.

Initial assessments put the state and county’s damage estimate at $15 million. About 20 families were directly impacted by the storm.

maui-storm2While the county and National Guard continue to clear out an estimated 9,000 truckloads of debris, the state and county are working to ensure the safety of the community.

maui-storm5“This is going to be a large project. Very expensive. It’s going to take months and months to try and secure this area, but it’s going to be worth it,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Click here for video of the governor’s aerial tour.

Flooding Closes Famous ‘Iao Valley State Monument Indefinitely

‘Iao Valley State Monument, Maui, will remain closed indefinitely due to extensive damage from heavy rain and flooding the night of September 13 and early morning on September 14, 2016.  Notice of the park closure is posted at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/.


Photos courtesy of DLNR

The flooding of ‘Iao stream also significantly damaged the Kepaniwai County park downstream and road to the park, which are also closed, as well as a number of residences.  Due to hazardous conditions, access to ‘Iao Valley is currently restricted to residents only. 

“Our inspections show that ‘Iao Stream course has changed and is significantly wider, cutting into state park land that contained public access features. The stream is heavily silted and cobbled with new material and landslides on both sides of the stream are evident,” said Curt Cottrell, Department of Land and Natural Resources State Parks division administrator.

iao-valley-damage2Within the lower portion of ‘Iao state park, sections of the two popular loop trails along the stream have washed away, and there is no longer any remaining land to rebuild them where they originally were.

On Wednesday, clear water in Kinihapai Stream, the smaller stream that passes under the park’s iconic pedestrian bridge, did not seem to indicate any landslides upstream. It seems not to have widened or changed course.  However, during inspections, the stream level remained quite high, covering the base of the foundations for each end of the bridge, preventing inspection of the bridge supports.


The turning area that tour buses take to get to their parking area is just above an area of significant erosion that may have affected the stability of the lower parking lot.

“We are planning to hire an engineering consultant to evaluate the stability of the lower parking lot where tour buses park. An examination is also planned for the footings of the pedestrian bridge,” said Cottrell.

“If the parking lot and bridge both are shown to be intact and stable, State Parks will proceed to remove debris, and allow limited access to portions of the trail, while needed repairs can be started. Access is predicated on Maui County effort to restore safe vehicular use of the lower roadway,” he said.

iao-valley-damage4Park areas not adjacent to either of the streams do not appear to have suffered any significant damage.

Maui State Parks staff have been notifying tour companies of the park closure.

‘Iao Valley is rich in cultural and spiritual values and is the site of the battle of Kepaniwai where the forces of Kamehameha I conquered the Maui army in 1790. (6.2 acres). The park is most famous for a scenic viewpoint of Kuka‘emoku (ʻIao Needle), an erosional feature which abruptly rises 1,200 feet from the valley floor.

HDOA Serves Warrant to Gain Access to Maui Property Infested with Little Fire Ants

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) obtained a court-ordered warrant and entered the property of a Maui resident who has continuously denied access to the property that was suspected of being infested with little fire ants (LFA).


LFA were detected in the Huelo neighborhood in early 2015 and surrounding properties have been under treatment to eradicate the stinging ants. With the warrant, HDOA Chairperson Scott Enright and department pest control personnel were able to survey the 1.75-acre property on Monday, Sept. 12 and found LFA infestations in potted plants and kalo patches.

“After months of unsuccessful discussions with the resident, the department was forced to take legal action in order to have any chance of eradicating this serious threat to the state,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.

HDOA has not taken this type of legal action since 2000 during the eradication efforts for banana bunchy top virus on Hawaii Island. Usually, the department tries to work cooperatively with residents, farms and nurseries to eradicate invasive pests. Eradication efforts have been extremely successful on Oahu, in Mililani and Waimanalo, mainly due to the cooperation of residents and residential associations.

HDOA crews will return to the Huelo property to begin treatment of the infestation. Treatment of the Huelo property will include appropriate treatment for the kalo, because it is an edible crop.

LFA was first detected on Maui in 2009 on an organic farm in Waihee. The infestation was successfully eradicated in one year following the eradication protocol developed by Dr. Casper Vanderwoude of the Hawaii Ant Lab and the ongoing efforts of the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC). In late 2013, LFA was found on Maui and traced to infested hapu`u logs imported from Hawaii Island, where LFA is widely established.

Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species.  LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th of an inch long, are pale orange in color and move slowly, unlike the tropical fire ant which moves quickly and are much larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. Tropical fire ants have been well established in Hawaii since before the 1870’s. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation, buildings and homes and may completely overrun a property to the point of abandonment.

For more information on LFA in Hawaii, go to the HDOA website: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/main/lfainfo/

Hurricane Watch Also Now Issued for Oahu

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Oahu.

Lester2At 500 PM HST (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Lester was located near latitude 18.7 North, longitude 146.0 West. Lester is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue during the next 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts.  Lester is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Little change in intensity is expected into tonight, followed by gradual weakening.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 957 mb (28.26 inches).

Maui County Courts to Close Due to Projected Severe Weather Conditions

State courthouses and judiciary offices in Maui County will be closing at 12:00pm (noon) on Friday, September 2, 2016, due to severe weather conditions being projected by the National Weather Service.

These closures include district courts on Molokai and Lanai, as well as the Children’s Justice Center, Office of the Public Guardian, and the Driver’s Education Office.

lester1The Chief Justice issued an order extending deadlines for any Maui County court matters with a filing or hearing date of Friday, September 2, 2016.

All documents due during the court closure will be considered timely if filed by the close of business on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

Hearings or trials cancelled due to the closure of the courts shall be rescheduled to the next available date with due regard for any statutory mandates.

We will provide updates if there are any changes or additional closures.

Hurricane Warning Now in Effect for Big Island – Tropical Storm Watch for Maui, Molokai & Lanai

A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for Hawaii County.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Maui County including the islands of Maui Molokai and Lanai.


A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 36 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the main Hawaiian Islands should monitor the progress of Madeline.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by the National Weather Service office in Honolulu Hawaii.


At 1100 AM HST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Madeline was located near latitude 19.3 North, longitude 149.4 West. Madeline is moving toward the west near 10 mph (17 km/h). This motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the west-southwest tonight through early Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Madeline will pass dangerously close to the Big Island of Hawaii Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts.  Madeline is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 967 mb (28.56 inches).

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Dissolves UPW Injuction; Maui Hospitals Transition May Proceed

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today issued an order dissolving an injunction that had temporarily barred certain transition activities relating to Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Communty Hospital. Based upon a settlement agreement reached on August 13, 2016 between Governor and the United Public Workers union and a joint request from both parties, the Court dismissed the underlying appeal brought by UPW as moot.

Attorney General Chin said, “During oral arguments before the 9th Circuit, the judges made clear to both UPW and the State that it preferred seeing the parties settle instead of the court making an all or nothing decision. Reaching compromise is not always easy. I thank Governor Ige and the union leadership for finding a forward path.”

Click to read

Click to read

In 2015, the Hawaii state legislature passed a law ending the Hawaii Health System Corporation’s delivery of health care services at the three Maui region facilities and transferring service delivery to a private operator. UPW had sued to stop the transition from taking place. Today’s order means that all transition activities between the State and a new Kaiser entity, Maui Health System, may resume at the three Maui region facilities.

Hawaii Election Results Online

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Reports (PDF format)

Hawaii State Reaches Agreement with United Public Workers Union to Proceed with Maui Hospitals Transition

Gov. David Ige and Dayton Nakanelua, state director of the United Public Workers (UPW), announced they have signed a settlement agreement that will resolve UPW’s lawsuit and class grievance against the state.

Click to read agreement

Click to read agreement

The union had sought to ensure that the collective bargaining agreement with the state was honored during the transition from state control to Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC (Kaiser). The transition can now move forward.

“I am pleased that we were able to work with UPW to ensure that state workers at the Maui healthcare facilities are treated fairly during the transition process. These employees are providing top-notch care for the community, and this agreement acknowledges their dedication to their patients. The settlement provides certainty to the people of Maui County that they will continue to have access to high quality health care,” said Gov. Ige.

“With this agreement, the governor has recognized and addressed the concerns of our members. He is honoring the process and the existing collective bargaining agreement,” said Mr. Nakanelua.

The state and UPW will jointly ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift its injunction and dismiss UPW’s lawsuit. Some key points of the agreement include:

  • The Maui Region hospitals will be transferred from Hawai‘i Health System Corporation management to Kaiser not earlier than November 6, 2016.
  • The Maui Region hospitals will be operated and managed exclusively by Kaiser.
  • UPW bargaining unit employees will work under Kaiser’s supervision and direction and still be covered by UPW collective bargaining agreements until those agreements expire on June 30, 2017.
  • Kaiser will offer to hire UPW employees for a period of six months starting July 1, 2017.

This agreement clears the way for the transition to Kaiser to proceed and residents of Maui County can feel secure that they will continue to have access to healthcare. While the transfer of the hospital management has been secured, some related issues remain. In particular, the Hawai‘i Government Employees’ Association (HGEA) did not join the UPW lawsuit. Instead, the union requested severance and retirement benefits for its employees through SB 2077, which was passed during the 2016 regular session. Gov. Ige vetoed the measure based upon legal and fiscal concerns and offered a compromise measure, but the legislature subsequently overrode his veto. This resulted in Act 1, Special Session 2016.

On Aug. 9, 2016, the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) filed a lawsuit against the state and Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation asserting that Act 1 will jeopardize the ERS’ federal tax-exempt status. This lawsuit will not affect the settlement agreement signed today. HGEA employees are not included in its provisions. HGEA’s severance and retirement benefits will depend on the outcome of the litigation, and/or the union could work with the state to reach an agreement in accordance with the collective bargaining law.

“I pledged to work out an agreement with UPW because we need to honor our commitments to the Maui Region hospital employees. I am hopeful that we can reach a similar agreement for employees in those facilities who are represented by HGEA,” said Ige.

EPA Enforces Ban on Cesspools on Big Island and Maui – Fines Levied

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced separate agreements with the County of Hawaii, the County of Maui, and the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), to close illegal large capacity cesspools on Maui and the Big Island.

The County of Hawaii will pay a $105,000 fine for its two cesspools at the Hilo Drag Strip and one at the Hilo Trap & Skeet Range.

Hilo Trap and Skeet RangeThe County of Maui will pay a $33,000 fine for one cesspool at the Maui Raceway Track. The DLNR will pay a $50,000 fine for its cesspools at Wainapanapa State Park on Maui and will close or convert smaller cesspools at seven state park and recreational areas on Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island.

Wainapanapa State Park

Wainapanapa State Park

“To make Hawaii’s coastal waters safe for both residents and visitors, we must stop the flow of pollutants and pathogens from large capacity cesspools,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Public facilities have the same obligations as private ones to close them.”

EPA found continued use of the illegal cesspools despite a 2005 ban under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program. Subsequent to the Agency’s investigations, the Hawaii County has closed the three illegal cesspools at the drag strip and skeet range, with plans to replace them with approved individual wastewater systems at each location. Maui County has closed the illegal cesspool at the raceway. DLNR closed the six illegal cesspools that served the park’s 12 rental cabins at the Waianapanapa State Park near Hana and converted them to approved septic systems.

Cesspools collect and discharge untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. They are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state. Throughout Hawaii, over 3,000 large capacity cesspools have been closed since the 2005 ban, many through voluntary compliance. The EPA regulations do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own individual cesspools.

All three cases are each subject to a 30-day public comment period. For more information on the cases please visit:


https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders For more information on the large capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large capacity cesspool, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

Tropical Storm Howard Turns South

At 800 PM PDT (0300 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Howard was located near latitude 17.7 North, longitude 126.4 West.

TS Howard

Howard is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion with a slight increase in forward speed is forecast during the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts.  Some additional strengthening is possible during the next 12 hours or so, but weakening should commence by Tuesday night.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 999 mb (29.50 inches).


Visible imagery and a 01/2038 UTC AMSR2 microwave pass show that Howard’s center of circulation has become exposed to the west of the cloud canopy.  Additionally, the entire western half of the cyclone has become devoid of deep convective banding.  It appears that modest westerly shear is impinging on the storm and undercutting the diffluent flow aloft.  A blend of the Final-T numbers from both TAFB and SAB yields an initial intensity of 45 kt for this advisory.  Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next 12 hours while Howard remains over SSTs greater than 26C.

By the 24 hour period, the cyclone is expected to move over cooler sub-24 deg C water. Cooler SSTs and increasing southwesterly shear should induce steady weakening, resulting in Howard degenerating into a post-tropical cyclone in 48 hours, and a remnant low by day 3.

After that time, the large-scale models show the remnant low degenerating into a trough of low pressure.  The intensity forecast is a little above the previous forecast, but is lower than the IVCN intensity consensus.

Satellite position estimates suggest that Howard is moving toward the west-northwest, or 295 degrees, at about 12 kt.  Howard is expected to move in a general west-northwestward motion during the next 72 hours along the southern periphery of a subtropical ridge located to the north of the cyclone.  Through the remainder of the period, the cyclone is forecast to become a shallow remnant low and turn toward the west following the low-level easterly tradewind flow.  The official NHC forecast is quite similar to the previous one, and is hedged toward the TVCN multi-model consensus.


Tropical Storm Darby Update: Tropical Storm Strength Through the Weekend

High clouds have been streaming toward the northeast which indicates the cyclone is beginning to feel an approaching upper level trough. One of the later passes through Darby by the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s WC-130J helped confirm the center position of the system toward the end of the morning mission though the aircraft had to fly lower to find it. Based on the morning recon mission and the maintenance of deep convection, the initial intensity has been held at 50 kt. Note that this is higher than the subjective Dvorak estimates of 45 kt from PHFO and SAB, and 30 kt from JTWC. The next aircraft mission into Darby is scheduled for this evening.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Darby is estimated to be moving at 280/11 kt to the south of a ridge. This ridge is forecast to weaken due to a low pressure system digging southward to the north of cyclone. This weakness is expected to decrease Darby’s forward motion over the next day, and increase the amount of vertical shear affecting the system this weekend.

The trusted dynamical models have remained largely consistent today, bringing Darby over the Big Island on Saturday. Thus, the current forecast has been nudged southward closer to the dynamical consensus with a landfall on the Big Island, followed by a path over Maui County and near Oahu. The latter part of this path assumes that Darby survives its impact on the Big Island which is not a certainty.

ProbabilityThe intensity forecast rationale remains the same since the last package. The main factors affecting the intensity forecast include marginal sea surface temperatures, the amount and timing of vertical wind shear, and the effects of any potential interactions with the Hawaiian Islands.

Sea surface temperatures will remain marginal near 26.5C over the next couple of days but vertical shear is expected to increase as the previously mentioned upper level trough digs farther south. This shear increase is not expected to become strong until later this weekend.

The forecast calls for only slow weakening with Darby maintaining tropical storm strength through the weekend. This is consistent with the previous package but slightly lower than the intensity consensus. Interactions with the Big Island may cause significant disruptions to Darby so the intensity forecast confidence is not high at this time.

Tropical Storm Darby Update – Direct Impact Possible on Big Island and Maui

The first Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron mission into Darby found maximum SFMR winds of just over 50 knots but the initial passes had difficulty determining the location of the low level center. Based on the recon data thus far, the tropical storm force radius was expanded slightly in the northern semicircle and Darby has been held at 50 kt for this advisory package.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Darby is estimated to be moving at 270/10 kt to the south of a ridge. This ridge is forecast to weaken due to a low pressure system digging southward to the north of Darby. This is expected to decrease the forward motion over the next day, and increase the amount of vertical shear on the tropical cyclone this weekend. The trusted objective aids are consistent with this scenario but have shifted southward slightly with some solutions indicating landfall over the Big Island. As a result, the current forecast has been shifted southward a bit and is between the dynamical consensus and the previous forecast. Given current guidance trends, a direct impact on the Big Island and Maui is a distinct possibility this weekend.

Flash Flood Watch Issued for Big Island and Maui

All eyes are on Tropical Storm Darby, and the forecast details are highly dependent on its eventual track and intensity as it approaches the islands. Unfortunately, a track more on left side of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) forecast cone would result in a much greater threat of damaging winds and intense rainfall, and possibly to a much larger part of the state.

Darby Satellite 721At this point, we cannot rule that out and we encourage people to get prepared for that very significant possibility. Tropical cyclone related headlines appear likely to be issued today.

Stay tuned to the latest from CPHC because adjustments are likely to the forecast as we go along. The peripheral moisture from Darby will start to bring some showers to windward Big Island tonight and increase on Friday. More significant bands of heavy showers and squalls associated with Darby are likely to start Friday night, then increase in intensity and frequency as the tropical storm gets closer.

Thus, we have issued a Flash Flood Watch that includes Maui and the Big Island for now. It is very possible we may have to expand the watch to include more areas if the CPHC track continues to shift westward. Until Darby gets close, we will see good conditions for getting ready, with typical trade wind weather with passing mainly windward and mauka showers, especially mornings and nights. After Darby passes, moist, humid southeast flow will continue during the first half of next week.

Based on the latest data from Wavewatch III, we have upgraded the High Surf Advisory to a High Surf Warning for the E facing shores of Maui and the Big Island starting at 6 am Friday. Wavewatch III shows longer period swell reaching 13 feet/13 seconds, so we went with surf heights of 12-20 feet for now.

Also raised the east- shore heights in the remaining advisory areas, to 8 to 12 feet. Adjustments may be needed to any of these details based on what Darby eventually does. Currently the High Surf Advisory for the other islands only goes through 6 am Saturday, but it may need to be expanded or extended as we get a better handle on what Darby will do. Winds and seas directly associated with Darby are likely to start increasing over the southeast offshore waters starting tonight, then spreading westward toward the state on Friday.

Winds and seas will begin increasing over the Big Island southeast waters on Friday, and continue spreading through the coastal waters zones near the Big Island and Maui after that. Although the Small Craft Advisory currently only goes through 6 pm Friday, we will likely be replacing that with tropical cyclone headlines today.

Tropical Storm WATCH Issued for Hawaii and Maui Counties

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Hawaii County and Maui County.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A Tropical Storm watch is in effect for:

  • Hawaii County
  • Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe

A Tropical Storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area within 48 hours.

Hawaii Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of SB 2077

The State House and Senate today voted to override Gov. David Ige’s veto of SB 2077 to preserve the management transfer of three state run Maui hospitals to Kaiser Permanente.

The bill, now a state law, authorizes severance benefits or early retirement incentives for employees who would be directly affected by the impending privatization of state hospital operations on Maui and Lanai.

Last year state lawmakers authorized the privatization of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital, and the state reached an agreement in January, 2016 to have Kaiser Permanente operate all three.

Lawmakers were concerned that if they did not override the veto, the transfer would be in jeopardy along with the health and safety of Maui residents and visitors.

The hospital transfer would be the largest privatization of public facilities in state history, and Gov. Ige has predicted it will save the state $260 million in hospital subsidies over the next decade.

Veto Votes

The House with 43 votes… voted to override the Governors veto of SB2077. It is now law. Photo via Senator Kahele Facebook page.

U.S. Senate Passes Hirono Resolution Honoring 100th Anniversary of Hawaii’s National Parks

The United States Senate passed a resolution authored by Senator Mazie K. Hirono honoring the 100th anniversaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui. Senator Hirono’s resolution recognizes August 1 as “Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala National Parks Day.”

Volcano at night

“For the last century, residents of Hawaii, the United States, and the world have visited Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and gained a greater appreciation for the natural environment, the history of Hawaii, and Native Hawaiian culture,” said Senator Hirono. “I thank my colleagues for joining me in this effort, and encourage as many people as possible from across the nation to come to Hawaii to visit these national treasures.”

Senator Hirono’s resolution recognizes the economic, scientific, and cultural value of Hawaii’s national parks. In 2015, visitors to Haleakala National Park spent over $76 million in surrounding communities, supporting nearly 1,000 jobs. Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spent over $151 million in areas around the park, and supported nearly 2,000 local jobs.