Tsunami map tweaked
By NANCY COOK LAUER
There will be only minor changes to Hawaii County’s tsunami evacuation map when the first new version in almost two decades is published later this year.
Hawaii County is in the midst of tweaking its maps based on a new University of Hawaii study that evaluated the past five tsunami events and used modeling to predict actions of hypothetical tsunami events. The statewide tsunami inundation zone mapping project, which was paid for by a $600,000 federal grant, was conducted by Kwok Fai Cheung of the Ocean and Resources Engineering Department at UH-Manoa.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, along with department heads and top administrators from around county government, attended a briefing about the inundation maps earlier this month, where Cheung provided an overview of his modeling and addressed changes in his predictions, according to a Sept. 30 memo from Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira.
Oliveira said the only significant change to the map will be bringing the evacuation area further up along the Wailuku River along Shipman Street in Hilo.
“Overall, the maps seem to be current and clear,” Oliveira said. “For the most part, the evacuation zones are the same.”
In addition, he said, the maps to be published in the next editions of the telephone book will clarify the evacuation zones between Kawaihae Harbor and Kohala Ranch Road. That part of the West Hawaii coastline was omitted in the recent telephone books, he said.
“That’s a gap that’s been identified,” where maps continue from one page to the next, Oliveira said. “We haven’t forgotten about them.”
In addition to in the telephone book, the public can view tsunami evacuation maps at the county Civil Defense site, http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/Browse.px?startid=24604&dbid=1, or by entering their address into a mapping tool at the state Civil Dfense site, http://www.scd.hawaii.gov.
Hawaii County’s new evacuation maps are currently being reviewed by Hawaii County police and fire agencies, Oliveira said. Once they are finalized, they will be published, probably in another month.
While several recent tsunami warnings resulted in no real emergency, officials urge the public to stay informed about evacuation zones and what to do when a siren sounds. When there’s a tsunami warning, the public should evacuate low-lying coastal areas and not return until Civil Defense has issued an all-clear for people to return to their homes.
State Civil Defense officials refused to release the inundation maps when requested by West Hawaii Today, saying the inundation maps would only confuse the public. The agency wants the public to focus on the evacuation maps, not the inundation maps, said state Civil Defense spokeswoman Shelly Kunishite.
Stephens Media Hawaii has submitted a formal public records request for the inundation maps to give the state agency the opportunity to cite which portion of the law allows the maps to be exempted from the state Uniform Information Practices Act.
Email Nancy Cook Lauer at email@example.com.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.