Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane’

Hawaii HurricanesWhen storms are named and media starts click baiting the looming disaster, there’s an expectation of a certain level of death and destruction, accompanied by adequate catastrophic imagery. If the gratification goes unfulfilled, unsatiated social media fiends hijack the threads and call everyone out for “crying wolf.”

This often happens with Hawai’i, whether it be for potential tsunamis or hurricanes. The tsunami comes in at a few feet with no Fukushima kine drama. The hurricane doesn’t impact land or turns into a tropical storm along the way (which is typical because of the effects of the massive mountain volcanos Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea), and it’s like someone let all the air outta the balloon.

Follow-up headlines will proclaim “Tsunami hits… Little Damage”, as they did after the Honshu Tsunami in 2011, even though there was actually over $30 million in damages. There was no Japan-horror footage, people getting swept out to sea (though a few ignoring warnings did in Cali), but the impacts were still profound for our lil’ isles. Boats, docks, businesses destroyed; Kona Village still hasn’t reopened five years later.

When in 2014 Hurricane Iselle didn’t seem to pack enough punch, social media was rife with complaints. And the follow-up news reports barely covered the effects on Puna, which left many with damaged homes, trapped by fallen trees, without power for almost a month. Though it was a let-down in terms of action / drama, damage across the islands was about $80 million, making it the third-costliest to ever hit the state.

Reality is, in Hawai’i we don’t need a direct impact to feel the repercussions. A little river can quickly turn into a massive flood zone with heavy rains (everything flows rapidly off the mountains / volcanos to the sea). These storms dumping over 15″ in a day is not unusual, and can easily result in flash floods (which have been known to wash oblivious tourists out to sea). Many low-lying areas, from Hanalei to Waikiki to Hilo, have a bad habit of flooding (Oahu was a temporary shit-storm just last month from Hurricane Darby). There are many who live beach front, who only need an storm swell and a high tide to be at risk. As far as the winds, we have too many invasive albizia, which do not need hurricane force to break or completely topple – as we saw with Iselle crushing homes and taking down the tree tunnel Pahoa.

This slideshow from a random 2012 storm that got little buzz: two weeks of rain, 50″ in a week, the highway blocked, towns flooded, crossing ragin’ rivers with ropes to get home….

Boarded up Wal Mart Hilo Hawaii Madeline Hurricane


Those who lived through the tsunamis of the ’40s, ’60s, or Hurricane Iniki in ’92 – or heard the tales – probably don’t mind precautionary warnings. Better safe than sorry. Sure we’re used to natural disaster events being downgraded after lots of hoopla. You simply can’t be certain of the worst-case scenario (aka a hurricane AND an Obama visit). In this case, hopefully the side-effects of Madeline and Lester won’t be too bad. If they don’t live up to the hype, we’re really really okay with that!

*All posteed videos are from Hurricane Madeline; sources shown.

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Flossie August 14th 2007Somewhere in the Eastern quadrant of the satellite pict to the right is the home of Coconut Girl Wireless, where we are calmly passing the time with internet surfing instead of the real thing. Surf was actually nice this morning (see surf report) but considering the number of helicopter rescues needed after the last few flash-flood scenarios, the beaches have been closed, and there was no sneaking down the back path either as roads were barricaded by the lifeguards early morning. As well schools, libraries, parks – all shut down as Mayor Harry Kim called for a precautionary State of Emergency – and coastal South Point residents are being evacuated as Hurricane Flossie (see satellite video) brushes along the Big Island. From the meteor shower of two nights ago, Kilauea going off with new fissures flowing lava 100 feet wide and a mile long (potentially cutting off Puna from the rest of the Big Island – see video), and last night’s 5.3 earthquake centered in Puna’s Kalapana area -25 miles south of Hilo, it was just enough heavy energy bombardment to keep us up ‘n jittery late night as we’re already a little wired wondering about the weather heading our way (big rains and tins roofs don’t help either)….

The news reports are like a Wal-Mart ad -they’re even mentioned in the advisories because they’re staying open 24 hours during this storm- and they surely benefit from us all freaking out about the potential danger and lose of power and supplies (though by this morning their shelves where all but empty of essentials, and I got the last propane stove from Ace Hardware)…but we all know better than to be left totally unprepared. No matter how much satellite and radar imagery and forecasting that the storm should stay south and not directly hit (I’ve heard Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea helps protect the Big Island from such), we can never be too sure or take for granted the fickleness of the elements. The intense rains and winds that may engulf us in just a few hours are enough to contend with, and flash-flooding is highly likely. Considering that, we hope everyone stays safe, and that -once the water cleans up and the storm pases- the high pressure system that remains will keep those of us on the East side in waves for days…’til then, a hui ho.

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