tropical storm madeline hawaii

National Weather Service forecast prediction of Tropical Storm Madeline, as of August 27. Photo: courtesy NWS

Six things to know about hurricane season in Hawaii

If you’re planning to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) this weekend, you may need to adjust your schedule. A Tropical Storm Warning from the National Weather Service is currently in effect for Hawaii Island due to Tropical Storm Madeline—heavy rains and winds are expected to reach Hawaii County as early as tomorrow.

Below are some helpful traveler tips we received from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center of things you should know if you are in the Islands during a watch or warning for a tropical storm or hurricane:

1. Stay out of the water.

It is best not to underestimate how the water appears, even if it looks OK to swim or surf. The ocean can be dangerous whenever there’s a watch or warning for a tropical storm or hurricane.

2. Watches vs. warnings.

Whenever the Central Pacific Hurricane Center issues any kind of watch, you have up to 48 hours to prepare. A warning means that there are about 36 hours before storm conditions are expected.

Hurricane Iniki off Kauai in Sept. 1992.
Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

3. Be prepared.

Familiarize yourself with the procedures of the hotel you’re staying at, should weather conditions worsen. Fill up your gas tank and make sure you have food, water and medication that last up to a week. Since Hawaii is isolated from the mainland, restocking supplies could take a while. And, stay off the road as much as possible to help traffic flow for those who are also preparing themselves.

4. Check your flight schedule.

If you’re scheduled to travel during a watch or warning, don’t forget to monitor how the airports are responding. Unexpected and worsening weather conditions can create delays or cause flight cancellations. Call your airline before arriving at the airport to get the latest information and make necessary adjustments.

Damage from Tropical Storm Iselle on Hawaii Island in 2014.
Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

5. Tell someone your plan.

Whether you’re staying at a hotel or with relatives on the island, let someone know what your emergency preparedness and evacuation plans are and check in with them after the storm so that they know you’re safe.

6. Stay up-to-date.

There are a variety of different sources for up-to-date information including radio, news, apps, and other outlets. In case the power goes out, have extra batteries on hand and a battery-powered radio to get the latest information and updates.