906 Evolving Tropical Impact-based Decision Support Services for Hawaii

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Charlie Woodrum, NWS, Honolulu, HI; and C. J. Brenchley, J. Bravender, T. Evans, and V. DeJesus

Handout (2.2 MB)

Through years of partner engagement with the Hawaii State Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) and county civil defense (emergency management), WFO Honolulu, HI (HFO) and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) have established strong relationships where a wide variety of partners rely on forecast updates to make critical operational decisions.  These important relationships were put to the test in the 2016 tropical season when three tropical cyclones, Darby, Madeline, and Lester, threatened the Hawaiian Islands. 

There was a multi-faceted approach to impact-based decision support services (IDSS) for these events.  This included work done by HFO, CPHC, the Pacific Region Headquarters Regional Operations Center (ROC), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT).  Support to government agencies along with federal, state and local emergency management in Hawaii included video teleconferences, PowerPoint briefings, tailored forecasts to county civil defense, and numerous daily interviews on-site with broadcast media.  Additional service was provided when HI-EMA made requests for the deployment of an NWS meteorologist to the State Emergency Operations Center.   This on-site and also off-site ROC support was first utilized in 2016 when Darby made landfall on the Big Island on July 23rd as a tropical storm and brought major flash flooding to Honolulu on July 24th.  It was again utilized during Madeline and Lester when both storms threatened to make landfall within days of each other in late August into early September. 

As a result of the IDSS performed during these events, NWS core partners were able to make decisions to prepare Hawaii residents and visitors along with assets in the surrounding waters.  This included pro-active decisions made by FEMA, NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Department of Transportation (DOT), and the National Parks Service (NPS).  In addition, HI-EMA served as a force-multiplier in helping get critical messaging out in preparation for the storms.  This presentation will highlight how NWS services were used by our core partners in order to make critical decisions.

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