Often, coping with natural hazard preparation involves being aware of key information pertinent to that event. But sometimes that information may be hard to find or understand. Here are four resources that should prove useful to your own personal awareness and preparation as well as the preparation of your community.
NOAA NWS National and Central Pacific Hurricane Center
During the Central North Pacific hurricane season from June 1st to November 30th, the National Weather Service’s National and Central Pacific Hurricane Centers website presents a variety of resources for the Central and Eastern Pacific regions, as well as the Atlantic region. Among other information, two- and five-day outlooks are available graphically illustrating cyclone (depression, storm, and hurricane) activity with current locations, projected paths and arrival times, cyclone ratings, and areas under watches and warnings. There are also graphs showing the areal extent of current measured wind speeds, and probabilities for areas along projected paths to experience wind speeds over the tropical-storm (39 mph) or hurricane-force (74 mph) thresholds. Updated bulletins are given every six hours when cyclone activity is in the region. For more information about these and other graphics, see the website’s About page: www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnhcgraphics.shtml
Tsunami Evacuation Zones
Large earthquakes anywhere around the Pacific Basin have the chance of generating tsunamis, fortunately often with many hours’ notification before reaching inhabited areas (see https://www.tsunami.gov). However, local earthquakes can also occur that may trigger tsunamis with nearly no warning. In either case, it is important to know what coastal zones have been designated areas to evacuate in the event of an official Tsunami Warning or Extreme Tsunami Warning. The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency has provided detailed interactive maps of all the Hawaiian Islands and Guam, alongside important information on signs of a tsunami as well as what to do in the event of a watch, advisory, or warning to help residents prepare for such eventualities. For evacuation zone maps for other North American coastal locations, visit the National Tsunami Hazards Mitigation Program website at:
Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Viewer
Not all hazards that we confront are sudden. Flooding from climate-induced sea-level rise is a chronic threat gradually, incrementally worsening each year. So it becomes just as important for long-term preparedness to be aware of the risks from this measured hazard. The Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Viewer is a companion tool to the Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report (https://bit.ly/2Kkz23K) produced for the state in 2017. The Viewer provides an interactive website that allows the user to define an area of interest and then presents maps showing projections of inundation and flooding hazard exposure associated with various selectable heights of future sea-level rise. Also included are physical and economic impacts to land, roads, and other infrastructure. The science behind the viewer makes it a unique tool, combining estimates of flooding from passive sea-level rise, annual high wave flooding, and coastal erosion to give a more realistic idea of risk levels than simply looking at elevation compared with sea-level rise heights.
Community Preparedness Groups
Often the best resources during an emergency are our neighbors and local communities. Several communities across Oʻahu have organized preparedness groups that lead trainings, outreach, and other events in their areas. From Hauʻula to ʻĀina Haina, fifteen registered preparedness groups are highlighted on the Oʻahu Department of Emergency Management website with contacts and/or websites. Explore the possibilities of joining a local group, or if one doesn’t already exist in your area, learn from those listed how best to start a group to help make your community storm and tsunami ready!
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