A whale of hurricane ‘Tale’

Although the season may feel Shakespearean in nature, believe it or not, “Tempests” (hurricanes) on Kauai are really quite rare given the frequency of tropical cyclones in the Pacific! “Tales of the Tempests: The Hurricanes of Kauai,” by local author Sheila Heathcote Arthur, covers the fascinating stormy history of the last one hundred years.

Peppered with excellent first-person narratives, their stories provide a rich tapestry of lessons learned from coping with the stress of a natural disaster. Including newspaper clippings and numerous photos, “Tales of the Tempests” expertly weaves together the civic and meteorological climates of the island in a way that is both educational and entertaining.

Covered are the five hurricanes that passed over the island in the 20th century: Hiki (1950), Nina (1957), Dot (1959), Iwa (1982), and Iniki (1992); also covered is an overview of many of the storms, cyclones, and hurricanes that interacted with the entire state and how those events affected Kauai’s future interactions with these tempests.

Sheila Heathcote Arthur’s style is engaging, bringing to life even the technical and scientific information of how hurricanes form and move around the globe. For instance, did you know that the seed of weather that became Hurricane Iniki started as a tropical climate wave which came off the west coast of Africa? Plus, “Tales of the Tempests” doubles additionally as a guide for hurricane preparedness.

Sheila Heathcote Arthur has written a book that is a wonderfully informative piece of scientific and personal history, all related to Kauai. We regularly stock her book in our bookstore, and good thing, too, because folks buy this one all the time, whether it’s “in season” or not!


Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.


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