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Local officials want residents to prepare despite below-average hurricane season forecast

Pacific Hurricane Forecast Hurricane Lane NASA approaches Hawaii ICC
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2018 file photo, provided by NASA, Hurricane Lane approaches Hawaiʻi as seen from the International Space Station. (NASA via AP, File)

Hurricane season officially started Wednesday. Meteorologists predict a below-average season with only two to four tropical cyclones forecast for the Central Pacific region.

But the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to make preparations in the event that a hurricane, or another extreme weather event, hits the state.

Residents should store at least two weeks of food, water, prescriptions and other essential needs.

The agency also says residents should understand the hazards that exist around their homes and develop a plan.

HI-EMA communications director Adam Weintraub says extreme weather can still happen from the residual of storms.

"As we saw in December in the Kona Low, it doesn’t even have to be a tropical storm to do significant damage. You get a storm that passes offshore, and it sets up those bands of rain that come over the steep areas. You can get flooding, you can get landslides, all of those are possible even if we don’t get a direct hit from a storm," he said.

"But because we do have the possibility of a major storm, we need to be aware of all of the potential effects that that can cause. And a near miss can be just as damaging as a direct hit in some circumstances," Weintraub said.

Weintraub says disaster preparedness is a community effort — and asks residents to help their neighbors also prepare.

Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

“Donʻt wait. Take small steps now to prepare yourself and your family,” said Luke Meyers, administrator of the HI-EMA.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Iniki hitting Kauaʻi. The state has had near misses with Hurricane Douglas, the closest to Oʻahu in modern history, in 2020 and Tropical Storm Linda in 2021.

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