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One year anniversary of severe storm shows the need to be prepared
Mayor Caldwell talks story with a local resident at a Disaster Recovery Center at Koko Head District Park (April 24, 2018).
Saturday, April 13 marks the one year anniversary of the severe storm that brought localized flooding to East O‘ahu and Windward O‘ahu, causing nearly $20 million in damage to city-owned properties alone. A total of 410 homes suffered damage because of the storm, with 104 homes considered to have suffered major damage, and another 306 homes suffering minor damage.
The severe storm shows that all O‘ahu residents need to be prepared in the face of such extreme weather events.
“While this was an extraordinary event with recovery not yet complete one year later, we need to collectively continue our efforts to prepare for the future,” said Hiro Toiya, director for the Department of Emergency Management. “It takes all of us working together from the government, NGOs, academia, community organizations, and each individual to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. We want to acknowledge the voluntary community responders from ʻĀina Haina Prepared, Hawai‘i Kai Strong, Ho‘omakaukau ‘O Waimānalo and Kailua Alert and Prepared, who immediately stepped up to help those in need. While we in the government have our roles, their efforts proved that residents who are trained, organized, and prepared can make a huge positive impact in disaster response and recovery.”
According to a post-storm report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) office in Honolulu, the storm that began on the evening of April 13 of last year had annual probabilities of 4 to 10 percent in a 15-minute period and 0.5 to 1 percent during a two-hour period. The same weather system that brought flash flooding to parts of O‘ahu was also responsible for bringing 49.7 inches of torrential rain to Waipā Garden, Kaua‘i in a 24-hour period, a new U.S. record. The NOAA post-storm report can be downloaded here: https://noaa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=67fd541fd0a540308c9b4060ccbd2d95
“The storm that struck East O‘ahu and Windward O‘ahu last year on the evening of April 13 and also brought historic flooding to Kaua‘i demonstrates that rare weather episodes are becoming increasingly more common, and we need to double down on our efforts to be ready for all types of storm events,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “It takes many partners working together to be more prepared for the types of intense and rapidly evolving storm events that are occurring due to our warming climate. This one year anniversary of the April 13 storm should serve as a reminder that it doesn’t take a hurricane to cause millions of dollars in damage to property and to have major impacts on the lives of our residents.”
The severe weather event on April 13 of last year impacted communities in ‘Āina Haina, Hawai‘i Kai, Maunawili and Waimānalo as the storm spread over the windward slopes of the Ko‘olau Mountain Range, bringing with it dangerous flash flooding conditions.
On April 18,, 2018 Mayor Caldwell issued a Proclamation of Emergency for the City and County of Honolulu. The emergency proclamation addressed the impacts to East O‘ahu and Windward O‘ahu residents, property owners and businesses, as well as acknowledging the impact on public facilities and infrastructure. The proclamation began the process to request a Federal Disaster Declaration, which was eventually approved by the White House and made additional disaster assistance and recovery programs available for residents, businesses, non-profit organizations as well as the City and County of Honolulu.
“The science tells us that climate change is going to bring these large rain events more often, and with more intensity,” said Josh Stanbro, Honolulu’s Chief Resilience Officer, who also serves as director of the city’s Climate Office. “The reality is that our infrastructure was built and sized for the stable climate of the past century, and residents and citizens need to think about how we can all protect our current homes while also building new ones that anticipate this growing risk. Moving quickly to a 100 percent clean energy economy worldwide is the only way to head off these climate impacts.”
Source: City and County of Honolulu News Release
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