West Hawaii residents may notice a few familiar emergency shelter sites won’t be open prior to the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio.
Hawaii Red Cross and Hawaii County Civil Defense officials decided together to staff 11 shelters, Hawaii Disaster Coordinator Barney Sheffield said. In West Hawaii, they opted to direct Waimea residents to Waikoloa Elementary School, because there were no viable shelter options in Waimea that were rated for hurricane force winds.
Several Kona residents questioned Kahakai Elementary School not being opened. The school is rated for hurricane winds, Sheffield said, but is considered a secondary site for West Hawaii. Konawaena High School and Kealakehe High School will be open as shelters, and they should be able to accommodate evacuees, Sheffield added.
The Red Cross is prepared to open additional shelters after the storm passes, if necessary, he said.
The 11 shelters are Laupahoehoe School, Kohala High and Elementary School, Kealakehe High School, Konawaena High School, Hilo High School, Waiakea High School, Keaau High School, Pahoa High and Intermediate School, Honoakaa High and Intermediate School, Ka‘u High school and Waikoloa Elementary School.