Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell presented a toned-down response to Tropical Storm Olivia compared to the all-out effort two weeks ago to prepare for Hurricane Lane.
The story was different in Maui County, where schools, courts and government offices were closed Wednesday. Maui County and the Red Cross opened seven shelters.
Olivia passed west over Maui and south of Oahu. The storm made landfall twice: once in the west Maui mountains and again on Lanai before continuing to move west.
Hawaii is no longer under a tropical storm warning, although a flood advisory remains in effect for Oahu until 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Gov. David Ige, left, and Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, middle, listen as Mayor Kirk Caldwell urges the public to remain vigilant during Tropical Storm Olivia.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Eight shelters were opened on Oahu, and the city worked to clear debris from streams in preparation for storm runoff.
Caldwell said officials must strike a balance between preparation and continuing with normal operations.
Honolulu has activated its Emergency Operations Center and opened eight shelters as last resorts for people unable to remain in their homes, the mayor said.
“The first choice is always to seek shelter with family members or friends where you feel safe,” Caldwell said.
One shelter is located at Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Laiea. The other seven are in district parks across the island, including Ewa Mahiko, Waialua, Kalihi Valley, Kaneohe, Manoa Valley, Wahiawa and Waianae.
The Honolulu Fire Department is fully staffing its 70 fire trucks on Oahu, said Chief Manny Neves.
Buses and trash pickup have remained on schedule Wednesday, and all city employees were expected to report to work.
And all parks, including beach parks, were open with the exception of Hanauma Bay due to surf conditions.
Director of Emergency Services Jim Howe warned that the chance of shark attacks may increase due to brackish waters resulting from runoff. Sharks come closer to shore to feed during periods of heavy rain, he said.
“If it’s brown, don’t go in the water,” Howe said. “Not just because there’s something in there that could make you sick, but there could be animals there that you don’t want to run into.”
The projected path of Olivia as of 11 a.m. Wednesday
High tides and high rain totals also create a problem for low-lying and coastal areas. The city began work last week clearing 15 stream openings in North Shore, Waianae, Nanakuli, Hawaii Kai, Kahala and Kailua.
Caldwell reiterated that there are limitations to clearing streams, especially those blocked by private property or deep in valleys.
Schools and universities on Oahu remained open, as did public schools on the Big Island and Kauai
Gov. David Ige asked President Donald Trump to declare an emergency for the state because the storm has the potential to cause widespread flooding, wind damage and power outages.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell