The Department of Planning and Permitting is warning Oahu contractors about the potential for heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds as Hurricane Iselle approaches the state.
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"Although we are hoping for the best, we realize that these two storms are approaching and we must be ready for the worst-case scenario," DPP director George Atta said in a news release.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Iselle was 515 miles east, southeast of Hilo on the Big Island. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and was moving west, northwest at 18 mph.
According to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, there are four active construction sites in Kakaako and contractors are being told to remove as many loose items as possible.
"Essentially, we're asking contractors to put those in a secure location so that they will not get blown around to potentially damage or hurt anybody," said DPP Deputy Director Arthur Challacombe. "They can be missiles."
However, large construction cranes will remain in place even as Iselle passes by the state. The Morrow Equipment Company has 11 cranes in the Kakaako area and according to Honolulu branch manager Andrew Jones, the cranes can withstand winds up to 102 mph.
"Essentially, tower cranes are designed and engineered to weather vane when they're not in operation and they're put into weather vane mode," Jones explained in a telephone interview with KITV4.
Yet another storm, Hurricane Julio, is more than 1,400 miles east of Hilo with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. Julio could impact the Hawaiian Islands two to three days after Iselle's passage.
Contractors are also being asked to remove "gutter buddies" from construction sites to prevent the potential for flooding. Gutter buddies are noodle-like devices placed in front of gutters that prevent debris from getting inside.
Once Iselle passes the island chain on Thursday into Friday, DPP will be on standby to assess any damage. If called upon by Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the agency can quickly deploy its inspectors throughout Oahu neighborhoods.
"We have approximately 140 personnel in DPP that will be devoted to damage assessment if needed," said Challacombe.
Oahu residents who suffer storm damage can call DPP directly at 768-800.