LIHUE — Erikson Walleen was in sixth grade when Hurricane Iniki hit in 1992.
“We just started school and then the storm came and we were out of school, so it was pretty fun,” he said.
But now that he has kids of his own, the situation is more intense, Walleen said during a shopping trip Wednesday.
“When I was a kid it was no worries, had a good time, but now just make sure we have everything ready for our kids so they’re comfortable,” he said.
Walleen said his family had mostly prepared from when Hurricane Hector was supposed to hit, so he was just buying some of the basics.
“We got some tuna, peanut butter. I got some spaghetti, batteries, snacks mostly,” he said.
Stores like Times, Costco, The Home Depot and Longs weren’t quite as busy Wednesday, but residents and visitors alike were stocking up on essentials before the possibility of Hurricane Lane wreaking havoc on Kauai.
Public schools are closed today, as are most government offices. A hurricane warning is also in effect for Big Island, Maui, Lanai and Molokai.
A few homeowners boarded up windows Wednesday, but the majority were not, as businesses remained open and most people continued working. Gas lines were not nearly as long as they were the day before.
Most stores, like Times, had plenty of water, still in demand, and people were stocking up.
Still feeling the impact from April’s historic flooding, Wainiha resident Tatsiana Dashkebish and her husband Chris were buying a few things they might need. One thing the couple said they learned after going through the flood is that it’s important to have a good supply of items at your home.
“We have some water, we have some nuts, we have some dry foods, too, we have some flashlights, we have some lamps, we have batteries,” she said.
Another thing they learned since the flood is that the community of Kauai is great because of how it pulled together to help the North Shore community.
“Everyone gets together and we definitely know we will receive support from others,” she said.
Knowing the community is supported by state and county officials is also important, she said.
“The mayor came over and we had some meeting on the North Shore about the upcoming events and everything and what we should expect and everything that’s a big thing,” she said.
In the middle of Costco, pallets normally filled with boxes of crackers, granola bars and other snack items usually stacked high were half-empty.
Shoppers pushed carts full of cases of water, large bags of rice and produce, and some had steaks and bread.
“I’m not too worried. We’re always worried, every year we’re getting prepared for nothing. This is the first year it actually might happen,” said Koloa resident Hal Martin, his cart filled with eggs, lettuce and a bottle of whiskey.
Helping Martin was Hanamaulu resident Michelle Galano, who agreed that they prepare for something every year, but nothing usually happens.
This is the first year something might actually happen, she said.
“I think that this may hit us. It’s heading toward our area more often with each passing hour or day technically. I think that it’s safe to prepare and just be cautious,” she said.
Mac Mulligar said he has lived on Kauai for the past five years. He’s been through some big storm events, but nothing like this.
“Just getting basics, water, pasta, spaghetti sauce, something for the chickens, just basics, just 30 percent more, just in case,” he said.
If there’s one thing he knows about the island of Kauai, it’s that if the worse happens, the community will pull together.
“Everything’s going to be fine,” he said.
Despite the possibility of a direct hit from Hurricane Lane, San Francisco residents Hamid Beytollah and Karen Henwood said they’d just arrived on Kauai Wednesday.
“We were going to change our plans but we saw the last notice advisory and it looked like things are heading south and it’s most likely going to be a category one or tropical storm and we’re here for 10 days so we figured let’s give it a try,” Beytollah said.
The couple, staying in Princeville, were stocking up on drinking water and other supplies. Beytollah said it would be better if it was sunny and nice outside, but this is part of the island.
“If these are my last words, tell my mother I love her,” he said.
Henwood said she hopes the hurricane isn’t that big of a deal.
“Hopefully it passes and we get the rest of our vacation like we were planning for,” she said.
Bethany Freudenthal, crime, courts and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or email@example.com.