Maui County crews, residents prepare ahead of Hurricane Lane

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Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa says preparations are in place as Hurricane Lane approaches.

He signed a pre-event emergency declaration on Tuesday, and county offices were closed as of Wednesday.

Skies were overcast for much of the day.

“These flash floods are extremely dangerous and could endanger people who are out on the road during heavy downpours,” he said. “Our residents and visitors should avoid traveling at all costs during this storm event. Stay home, stay informed and stay safe.”

All Driver Licensing & Motor Vehicle offices, Real Property Tax, Liquor certification examination locations and senior services are closed until Monday, Aug. 27.

All county park, park facilities and pools are closed pending a storm damage assessment on Saturday. 

The last trash pickup and bus service took place Wednesday. All county landfills closed at noon on Wednesday.

The state Department of Education announced that all public and charter schools and HIDOE offices on Hawaii Island and in Maui County will be closed Wednesday, Aug. 22, until further notice. All after-school activities and programs statewide have been canceled through Monday, Aug. 27.

“This is the most serious potential I’ve seen, and I’ve been alive 63 years, so for Maui County, this is one of those things that I don’t ever believe we’ve had this kind of magnitude in my lifetime,” Arakawa said.

County vehicles and heavy equipment were moved away from the coastline, and Arakawa says he has been meeting regularly with first responders, county agencies, and community partners in hotels, hospitals, and airports to ensure coordinated response to the storm.

“We also told our employees and our department not to report to work but to start scheduling so we can get our employees back when we need them during the duration of this storm,” he said. “We don’t want to burn everybody out. We want to make sure we have all the personnel available. Essential personnel were held back to prepare whatever we needed to have prepared to make sure we’re ready for this storm.”

One of the biggest challenges, according to Arakawa, will be high surf. 

“I’ve never in my lifetime seen waves over 10 feet on the south shore, and even when we have four- and five-foot waves, they’re inundating our shoreline and going over our roads already, so 15 to 20 feet might isolate Lahaina and a lot of the areas along the southern coast and cover our roads so transportation is going to be a real problem if Honoapiilani Highway is cut off from Central Maui,” Arakawa said. 

For more information about the storm, contact the Maui Emergency Management Agency at 270-7285
or click here.

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