Better safe than sorry, so they say. And many on Kauai took that route this past week. Who wouldn’t, with a hurricane headed this way? Many residents rushed out and bought cases of water and stocked up on food — enough for weeks, even months.
A few boarded up windows. Many businesses closed Friday and Saturday, just in case there was serious damage caused by Iselle, a hurricane that turned into the second tropical storm on record to make landfall on the Big Island Friday.
Come Friday night and into Saturday, Iselle did little more than send some rain and wind Kauai’s way. Remember Flossie from last year? People then hurried to the store for food, water and gas, and old Flossie fizzled, and many had bottled water for the rest of the year.
What happened here with Iselle?
An emergency shelter was opened and people were advised to remain indoors and stay off the roads. There was a downed tree across the road in Kokee. A downed power pole. A flash flood warning was issued. The Hanalei Bridge was closed late Friday due to the rapid rise of the Hanalei River, but was reopened hours later. Otherwise, it was life as usual.
For some, there might be some disappointment when you take all the steps to be prepared for disaster and nothing happens. All the worried relatives are calling from the Mainland asking how you’re doing with a hurricane roaring in, and you eventually have to admit the weather was pretty much like any other day when you live on an island. It would be more dramatic to say you survived a hurricane than to say you got a little wet running from the car to your home.
Let’s be glad not much happened here and be ready in case it does. We’re thankful to report Kauai escaped with little damage. The good news here is, people were prepared. They were ready as you can be. There was no panic other than following early hurricane reports, gas lines formed at Costco and bottled water was suddenly in great demand. The county was ready to respond, as was the Red Cross, Department of Natural Resources and a host of other local, state and federal agencies. We heard stories of neighbors helping neighbors and businesses doing their best to meet demand during the potential crisis. We heard tales of business owners pitching in together as they prepared for strong winds and rains. That kind of aloha is what makes Kauai unlike anywhere else on God’s green Earth. Fear is not a word you hear often on Kauai.
Don’t give away all those cases of bottled water just yet. We still have Julio out there, but it’s supposed to pass about 200 miles to the north of us, which should mean more rain and wind here. And it’s still hurricane season through the end of November. But don’t worry too much. While no one knows what the weather holds, we do know that Kauai will always endure the risks, rewards and yes, hurricanes, of life together.