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.

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/.

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).

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.

Hawaii DLNR Keeps Areas Closed in Anticipation of Hurricane Lester

Due to the uncertainty over the track of approaching Hurricane Lester, all Hawai‘i island, Maui, and O‘ahu State Park camping and lodging areas will be closed to overnight use beginning Friday, September 2 and will remain closed — at minimum through Monday, September 5 — until conditions warrant allowing these activities.

Lester2 The gates at Makua Beach (Ka‘ena Point State Park, O‘ahu), which normally open at 2 pm on Fridays for weekend access, will remain locked through the weekend.  At this time, all State Parks are open for day use.

Full refunds will be processed for all current permit holders.

Kaua‘i State Park camping and lodging areas remain open at this time, but are subject to closure depending on updated forecasts.

On Maui and Hawaii islands, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, Na Ala Hele hiking trails, forest campgrounds and game management areas, will remain closed until further notice.  Camping permits for this weekend are cancelled until further notice.  

For public safety, DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife is canceling the following scheduled weekend hunts for Saturday and Sunday, September 3-4, 2016:

Lanai Mouflon sheep rifle hunt – There will be a makeup hunt scheduled for October 29-30, 2016 for those hunters impacted by this cancellation. For further information, contact the Maui DOFAW office at (808) 984-8100.

Puu Waawaa scheduled weekend hunt – There will be a makeup hunt scheduled for September 24-25, 2016 for those hunters impacted by this cancellation.  For further information, contact the Kamuela DOFAW office at (808) 887-6063.

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

Additional closures 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.

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.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Partially Open as Hurricane Lester Nears

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open Thursday, with partial closures in place as Hurricane Lester nears, and Hurricane Madeline,  now downgraded as a tropical storm, passes south of Hawai‘i Island.

NPS Photo/Jay Robinson: Hurricane Madeline caused an ‘ōhi‘a tree to fall near Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Several other trees were reported down on closed park roadways.

NPS Photo/Jay Robinson: Hurricane Madeline caused an ‘ōhi‘a tree to fall near Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Several other trees were reported down on closed park roadways.

Open areas include Crater Rim Drive and Crater Rim Trail, Kīlauea Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum and observation deck, Steam Vents, Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kīlauea Iki, Devastation Trail, Sulphur Banks and most front-country trails.

These closures remain in place: all camping and campgrounds, Chain of Craters Road, including the coastal lava viewing area, all backcountry areas, Hilina Pali Road, and Mauna Loa Road after Kīpukapuaulu to the overlook.

“Hurricane Lester is still a threat to Hawai‘i Island, even though it is projected to go north.  Therefore we will maintain the aforementioned closures until Lester has passed and is no longer a threat,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Hawai‘i Island and Maui are under a hurricane watch, and according to the National Weather Service as of 11 a.m., the center of Hurricane Lester was 675 miles east of Hilo, moving west at 13 mph. Forecasters are again expecting very heavy rainfall, dangerously high surf, and hurricane-force winds.

The Kahuku Unit, open only on Saturdays and Sundays, will remain closed on Saturday. Rangers will determine if Kahuku can reopen for Sunday.

Updates are posted to the park’s website www.nps.gov/havo, its general information phone number, (808) 985-6000, and its official social media sites.

All Hawaii Island PUBLIC Schools Will Reopen Tomorrow

As Tropical Storm Madeline moves past the State, all Hawaii Island public schools will reopen tomorrow, Sept. 2. Schools on the island were closed on Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for the storm.

doe logo

The schools that were activated as shelters on Wednesday closed sheltering services at 6:00 a.m. today.

All after-school activities remain cancelled through tomorrow.

“We assessed our school campuses this morning and no damages were reported,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We will remain vigilant as Hurricane Lester makes its way towards the islands and continue to keep everyone informed of the affects it may have on our schools.”

All public charter schools on Hawaii Island will also open tomorrow.

On Maui, Hana High and Elementary School was closed today following heavy rains that created dangerous conditions. Hana School will also reopen tomorrow.

For more information about HIDOE schools and continued updates, visit www.hawaiipublicschools.org, follow us on Twitter at @HIDOE808, and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HIDepartmentofEducation.

Hurricane Watch in Effect for Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe #HurricaneLester

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Hawaii County, Maui County including the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.

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A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A Hurricane Watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical storm conditions, which make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Interests elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands should monitor the progress of Lester.

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

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

At 1100 AM HST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Lester was located near latitude 18.4 North, longitude 144.8 West. Lester is moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h). This motion is expected to continue into the afternoon, followed by a gradual turn toward the west-northwest later today through Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts.  Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 968 mb (28.59 inches).

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Now Closed Until Further Notice

To ensure the safety of visitors and employees, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will close at noon today until it is determined safe to reopen.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

Park staff and volunteers not directly involved in storm efforts were directed to stay home. Guests at Kīlauea Military Camp and Volcano House will shelter in place, or if necessary, be directed to the nearest shelter.

Rangers will assess impacts from Hurricane Madeline at 8 a.m. Thursday. The strongest winds are predicted to hit the park between noon and 2 p.m. Wednesday. Forecasters predict the park could see up to 10 inches of rain, maximum winds of 45 mph up to 75 mph (depending on the storm’s track), and dangerously high surf.

“The closure will continue until we have a chance to assess the impact to the park and mitigate any damage. With Hurricane Lester right on the heels of Madeline, and still a Category 4 hurricane, we could end up continuing the closure for a few days until it’s safe to reopen,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Rangers will determine by Friday if the Kahuku Unit, open only on Saturdays and Sundays, will remain closed over the weekend.

Updates will be posted to the park’s website www.nps.gov/havo, and its official social media sites.

Hurricane Lester May Move into the Central Pacific Basin this Afternoon

At 200 PM PDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Lester was located near latitude 18.0 North, longitude 139.9 West.

LesterLester is moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.  A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast on Thursday.  On the forecast track, Lester will move into the central Pacific basin this afternoon.

Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts.  Lester is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 954 mb (28.17 inches).

Big Island Amateur Radio Emergency Service Districts Activate to Support Possible Hurricane Response in Hawaii

ARRL Pacific Section Emergency Coordinator Clement Jung, KH7HO, has announced the activation of all four Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) districts on the Big Island of Hawaii, to support each other and served agencies as two hurricanes — Madeline and Lester — threaten. A hurricane watch remains in effect for Hawaii County.

amateur radioA SKYWARN net activated on August 31 as Hurricane Madeline approached the Big Island, and KH6SW went on the air from the National Weather Service (NWS) Honolulu Forecast Office on HF, VHF, and UHF. A second SKYWARN activation for Hurricane Lester will begin on September 2 at 10 PM (0800 UTC on September 3), continuing until Monday, September 5 at noon (2200 UTC).

As of 1200 UTC, Madeline, now a category 1 storm, was located about 200 miles east of Hilo and 410 miles east-southeast of Honolulu, with maximum sustained winds near 90 MPH. The storm is moving to the west at 12 MPH.

As of 0900 UTC, Hurricane Lester, a much stronger category 4 storm, was some 1160 miles east of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds of 140 MPH and moving to the west at 12 MPH. NOAA has advised interests in Hawaii to monitor Lester’s progress.

ARES teams were set to initiate local repeater nets, holding 146.52 MHz simplex in reserve in case repeaters go down. Plans call for using HF (7.180 and 3.975 MHz) to relay traffic via Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) nets to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency Emergency Operations Center (EOC). SKYWARN traffic will use Fldigi MT63 1KL or voice on 7.080 MHz (USB), with 3.888 MHz (LSB) as an alternate frequency, and 7.095 MHz available to support informal and tactical traffic.

Jung said that if Hawaii Emergency Management Agency RACES is activated, it will monitor 7.088 MHz (LSB) for voice and Fldigi MT63-1KL. Until then, SKYWARN will be the statewide HF net control station on 7.080 MHz (USB) for voice and Fldigi.

Hawaii Gov David Ige has declared a state of emergency in the state, with the Big Island under a hurricane warning for Madeline. The National Weather Service has indicated that hurricane conditions could occur on the Big Island within the next 24 hours. Public schools in Hawaii have been closed, and the governor was urging residents of the Big Island to take steps to protect people and property. A dozen schools have been designated to serve as emergency evacuation shelters.

In addition to HF, KH6SW will operate on these repeaters:

  • 146.660 (EARC, Windward Oahu)
  • 146.760 (DEM RACES, Peackcock Flat, North Shore Oahu)
  • 146.800 (EARC, Manakapu, Oahu)
  • 146.880 (DEM RACES, Diamond Head)
  • 146.980 (DEM RACES, Downtown Honolulu)
  • 147.060 (State RACES, Diamond Head)
  • 444.350 (State RACES, Diamond Head)

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces Partial Closure as Hurricanes Approach

To ensure the safety of visitors and employees, sections of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will close starting at 5 p.m. today as hurricanes Madeline and Lester approach Hawai‘i Island.

Halema‘uma‘u is seen from Crater Rim Trail near Steam Vents on Tuesday morning, the calm before the storms.

Halema‘uma‘u is seen from Crater Rim Trail near Steam Vents on Tuesday morning, the calm before the storms.

Park closures are as follows for Tuesday, August 30 by 5 p.m.:

  • Kulanaokuaiki Campground and Hilina Pali Road
  • All backcountry sites and Mauna Loa Road from Kīpukapuaulu to the overlook

The following closures will commence on Wednesday, August 31:

  • Nāmakanipaio Campground and A-Frame Cabins will close by 9 a.m.
  • The coastal lava viewing area and Chain of Craters Road will close by 9 a.m.
  • Jaggar Museum & Kīlauea Visitor Center will close Wed., 8/31, time to be determined
  • The entrance station will close on Wed., 8/31, time to be determined

Guests staying at Kīlauea Military Camp and Volcano House may shelter in place, or be directed by employees to the nearest shelter (if necessary). In addition, the Kahuku Unit will remain closed over the weekend, but may reopen if Hurricane Lester is not a threat.

“Although we don’t intend at this time to close the entire park, visitors are advised to stay off the roads and plan to visit the park once the storms pass and damage is assessed,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Hurricane-force winds, dangerous surf, and very heavy rainfall are expected.

Closures will remain in effect until the storms have passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer, and any damage is assessed. Updates will be posted to the park’s website www.nps.gov/havo, its official social media sites, and recorded to (808) 985-6000.

Popular visitor areas at the summit of Kīlauea will remain open at this time, including Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kīlauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum and observation deck.

Coast Guard Urges Public to Prepare for Heavy Weather Ahead of Hurricane Madeline

The Coast Guard is urging the public to prepare for the onset of heavy weather expected to impact the Hawaiian Islands, Wednesday.

epac satCurrently, Hurricane Madeline has maximum winds of 100 mph and is expected to generate high surf throughout the Main Hawaiian Islands.

Mariners and beachgoers should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through newspapers, the internet and local television, radio stations and official accounts on social media. Boaters can monitor the progress of the storm on VHF channel 16. Small craft advisories and warnings are also broadcast on VHF channel 16.

The Coast Guard is working closely with local and state first responder agencies. Once the storm begins to impact the islands, emergency responders may not be able to assist those in danger. The public is urged to heed all evacuation orders. Mariners should seek safe harbor and shelter.

Additionally, 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 from high winds. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels should be secured or removed.

Visitors to Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf may impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm. 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 for several days following a storm.

Media interested in conducting interviews with the Coast Guard regarding preparations for the impending storms should contact the Coast Guard 14th District public affairs office at 808-525-3230.

Hurricane ManualA 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/.