Island life comes with threat of storms

A storm is coming. Or is it?

It might be a hurricane by the time it gets here. Or maybe not.

There could be damage because it’s projected to hit the Hawaiian Islands. Wait, it changed course.

Life in Hawaii, as wonderful as it is, includes the reality that tropical storms sometimes arise in the ocean and they head our way. Consider Tropical Storm Ana. It was supposed to gain strength and become a hurricane Wednesday, but that didn’t happen. It didn’t happen Thursday, either. Friday, it did become a Category 1 hurricane, at least for a while, but by then it was far enough away from the islands that it didn’t pose a serious threat and was expected to send winds and rains. Ana was expected to pass 115 miles southwest of the Big Island on Friday night, and to keep the same distance and weaken as it passes the rest of the Hawaiian Islands over the weekend. It seems we are safe and all is well.

So, was this a case of much ado about nothing? Did we make a bigger deal out of this storm than necessary? No.

As the weather experts have repeatedly said, it’s difficult to predict what a tropical storm or hurricane is going to do and where it’s going to go. But, we do know it’s better to be safe than sorry, to have some extra provisions — water, food, batteries, candles and gas up the car — and stay tuned to the latest developments. Remember, Iniki wasn’t expected to hit Kauai, but it did.

While we don’t want to over hype a storm headed our way and create panic, fear and cause people to rush frantically to the store, we also don’t want to under report the situation, either, and have people be caught unaware. We want to provide more than enough information so people can plan, prepare and be aware.

On Kauai, most people adopted a wait-and-see attitude about Ana before buying some basic necessities. No visitors were trying to catch an earlier plane off the island. This wasn’t like when Iselle threatened to come calling on Kauai two months ago, when bottled water disappeared quickly off shelves, as did some canned foods and gas lines were long. With Ana, few folks on Kauai seemed worried and none that we knew boarded up windows. Gas lines were longer midweek, but shorter by Friday.

This week, it was business as usual with people playing at the beaches, eating at restaurants and enjoying blue, sunny skies. We prefer it that way, too. But when a storm threatens, we’ll sound an alarm. Just to be on the safe side.

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