Hawaii has been hit directly by a hurricane or tropical storm five times since 1950. Three of those direct hits came in the last four years.
Congress has authorized $345 million to strengthen the aging canal to protect against flooding in Waikiki and nearby neighborhoods.
The state is assessing the conditions of shelters and retrofitting some, but the work is expensive and slow.
Maintaining electricity in the wake of a major storm is also key to keeping the water supply flowing.
The isolated islands would rapidly burn through food and supplies should the port close. Plan B is to bring limited goods through Pearl Harbor.
Walaka is expected to continue weakening as it veers southwest of the atolls.
UPDATED: Oahu’s shelters go mostly unused, and no widespread damage has been reported despite heavy rainfall.