Skip to Content

Geothermal Information Update for September 29, 2016 at 10 PM

This is a Civil Defense message for Thursday, September 29, at 10 PM. 


This is an information update to the Puna Geothermal release of steam that was reported earlier today.    


Based on all available data from air quality monitoring, there continues to be no threat to the public. 


Again, based on all available data from air quality monitoring, there continues to be no threat to the public.


This is the final update. Thank you, this is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.


Flash Flood Warning Cancelled Wednesday September 14 at 10:15 PM

This is a Civil Defense message.

The National Weather Service has cancelled the Flash Flood Warning issued earlier this evening. However, the County of Hawaii remains under a Flash Flood Watch through tomorrow afternoon. A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. 

The evacuation shelter at Paauilo Gym has been closed. 

Hawaii Electric Light reports power restoration repair efforts have begun for those areas with power outages.

Hawaii Police Department reports South Kopua Road in Glenwood is flooded 1.5 miles in from Route 11. Traffic is rerouted through alternate routes.

Monitor your local forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued at a later time. Thank you for listening, this is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.


Hurricane Lester Update for Saturday September 3, 2016 at 10 AM


This is a Civil Defense message.

This is a Hurricane Lester information update for Saturday September 3rd, at 10:00 AM.

At 8:00 AM, the National Weather Service reported that Hurricane Lester was located 165 miles north-northeast of Hilo, moving west-northwest at 16 MPH with maximum sustained winds at 100 MPH with higher gusts.

The National Weather Service also reported that deep tropical moisture around Hurricane Lester will result in increasing showers with the possibility of localized heavier downpours or thunderstorms today through Sunday.

A High Surf Warning for east facing shores remains in effect until 6 AM tomorrow morning. Surf heights in excess of 20 feet along east-facing shores have been reported.

The evacuation shelters at Pahoa Community Center and at the Keaukaha-Kawananakoa Gym are now closed. 

The public’s understanding and cooperation in keeping our communities safe are sincerely appreciated. The media’s efforts in keeping the public informed is also appreciated.

This will be the last update for Hurricane Lester. Thank you for listening; this is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.  



What You Can Do to be Storm Ready

Monitor the status of the Hurricane: For your information and planning, monitor the following link for up-to-date information about Tropical Storm Madeline at

During a tropical storm:

Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Be extra careful when walking outside.
Storm damage such as downed power lines and fallen debris could injure you.

6 hours before arrival:
Close storm shutters if possible and stay away from windows.
Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary.
If you lose power, food will last longer.

6 to 12 hours before arrival:
Turn on your TV/radio, or check your local government’s website frequently.
You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
Charge your phone.
You’ll have a full battery if you lose power.

12 to 36 hours before arrival:
Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away.
These may become a safety hazard.
Bookmark your local government’s website.
This gives you quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.

36 to 48 hours before arrival:
Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit.
Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power.
For example, you can use phone, text, social media, or email.
Create an evacuation plan with your family.
You may have to leave quickly.



Posted on Aug 29, 2016 in MainNews Release

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency






August 29, 2016


HONOLULU – After consultation with the four counties, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency will not conduct siren testing on Thursday, September 1st.

The combination of the World Conservation Congress with delegates from 170 countries, a visit by President Barak Obama and the approach of two powerful hurricanes has emergency management officials concerned the siren testing may result in public confusion.

Hawaii EMA Administrator, Vern Miyagi says, “The less confusion the better.”

Siren testing will resume in October. Any siren sounding before then should be taken seriously and the public should tune in to television and radio news reports.

# # #

Media Contacts:

Mary Zanakis
Public Information Officer

Galen Yoshimoto
Public Relations Officer


Emergency Shelters Open

Please ensure to bring your own bedding, food, water, medicines and any personal items you may need.

Pet Friendly Emergency Shelters:

Waiakea High

Kalanianaole Elementary

Keaau High

Pahoa High

Honokaa High and Intermediate

Kealakehe High

Konawaena High

Ka’u High


Emergency Shelters Unable to Accomodate Pets:

Hilo High

Laupahoehoe High

Kohala High and Elementary

Waikoloa Elementary

Waimea Middle

Mountain View Elementary


Flash Flood Watch Information Update for Wednesday August 24 at 10:30 AM

This is a Civil Defense message. This is a flash flood watch information update for Wednesday, August 24 at 10:30 AM.

A flash flood watch was again issued by the National Weather Service and will remain in effect for the entire state through late this afternoon. Deep tropical moisture conditions will continue to produce heavy downpours and a chance of thunderstorms over all islands. With streams remaining elevated, and the ground already saturated from recent heavy rains in many areas, there will be an elevated risk for flash flooding. A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is very dangerous. Do not cross fast flowing or rising water in your vehicle or on foot. Turn around, don’t drown. 


Living with Vog on an Active Volcano: New Resources

Release Date: AUGUST 18, 2016

New informational products about the health hazards of volcanic air pollution known as “vog,” are available through a new interagency partnership.

The products include a booklet of frequently asked questions, a brochure and poster about protecting yourself during vog episodes and a web-based “dashboard” that provides comprehensive links to a wide range of vog resources, including vog forecasts and air-quality information.

Communities downwind from Kīlauea Volcano’s active vents frequently experience vog as a visible haze or as a sulfurous smell or taste. People exposed to vog report a variety of symptoms, such as eye irritation, coughing, wheezing, sore throats and headaches. The new products were co-developed by U.S. Geological Survey scientists Tamar Elias and Jeff Sutton at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, John Peard and other officials at the Hawaii Department of Health, and Claire Horwell from Durham University in the United Kingdom, with participation by Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense and other agencies.

Peard, with Hawaii DOH said, “The diverse partnership has allowed us to develop new, consistent products that more fully address the needs of the community.”

“The products offer advice on vog protection measures, such as staying indoors, limiting physical activity, and staying hydrated when vog levels are high. Providing relevant, up-to-date information to a population living with decades of an ongoing volcanic eruption may help people to better cope with the frequent vog conditions,” said Horwell.

The new, mobile-friendly vog dashboard is hosted by the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network, a clearinghouse for information on the health impacts of volcanic eruptions. All of the new Hawaiʻi vog products are available online, and are accessible through the dashboard.

Vog, the pollution formed from acidic gases and particles released by active volcanoes, is composed primarily of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas and its oxidation products, such as sulfate aerosol.  Sulfur dioxide from Kīlauea Volcano, now in its 34th year of nearly continuous eruption, leads to the vog that challenges communities, agriculture, and infrastructure on the Island of Hawai‘i and across the state. Scientists at USGS HVO regularly monitor the quantity and composition of gases released from Kīlauea. Among other things, HVO data are used as input for vog models that forecast the volcanic plume dispersion and vog locations.

Horwell’s previous study in 2015, investigated how Hawaiian communities perceive vog, how they protect themselves, and their preferences for receiving advice. The results from the study support the need for consistent online advice from all federal, state and local agencies; increased access to web- and non-web-based information on vog exposure and protection; and updated guidance on how to access resources about vog. HVO’s long involvement in vog studies, coupled with the community studies about perception and needs, led to the development of the new vog informational products.

For more information about Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, please visit HVO’s website, or network with others on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook group.


White gas plume rising straight up from Kilauea Volcano summit with distant, bright, full moon.
With stagnant winds present, the plume from Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon. credit: Michael Poland, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
scientist with camera and spectrometer at the edge of smoking volcanic crater.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geochemist measuring gases released from Kïlauea with a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, an instrument that detects gas compositions on the basis of absorbed infrared light. credit: Janet Babb, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory


Janet Babb

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Phone: 808-967-8844
USGS, Public Affairs
Western States Communications
Phone: 650-329-4006



County Internet Connection Restored 8-9-16

Internet connectivity has been restored to the County of Hawai’i, and all impacted services are once again available. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.


Pahala Siren Test Wed. August 10 between 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), together with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, will conduct siren testing on Hawaii Island on Wednesday, August 10, 2016. Testing will be between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the following location:

  • Pahala

These new sirens are part of the Statewide Siren Modernization Project. Residents nearby may hear the siren sound six to eight times for 30-second to one-minute intervals during the identified timeframe. Testing will include short blasts known as “burps.” During these tests, emergency management officials and technicians will check that siren installations were properly completed.

Residents can direct questions about this siren testing to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency at (808) 935-0031.

Hawaii EMA encourages the public to make use of other supplemental methods of warning including, but not limited to, Hawaii County’s mass text notification system, Blackboard Connect, and NOAA Weather Radio.


# # #


Media Contact:

Mary Zanakis                                                         Galen Yoshimoto

Public Information Officer                                      Public Relations Officer

808.620.5422                                                       808.620.5408