KAPA‘A — “Look!” Joe ‘Grandpa Joe’ Bodano of Larry’s Music said, Monday morning. “The rain is coming straight down. There’s no wind.”
Larry’s Music was one of a few stores open, Monday morning following the passage of Hurricane Douglas to the north of Kaua‘i, late Sunday night and into Monday morning.
“We were busy getting the store ready for the hurricane,” Grandpa Joe said. “We had to get all the instruments in the front up high, and try to keep the rest of the store protected. I was ready to stay home like all the other stores, but Sam has a class — he gives lessons — and there are some instruments that I needed to work on so we opened because the storm already passed. It’s a good thing we didn’t get hit.”
John Kaohelauli‘i of nearby Sole Mates said their lives over the past week was governed by Douglas.
“You know, listen to the morning update from the National Hurricane Center, go to work, and get back home for the 5 p.m. report,” John said. “We couldn’t get to work until we heard the morning update.”
Those reports tracked the progress of Douglas through the state, starting with the threat of hits to any of the islands of Oahu, Maui, or the Big Island from its start 3,000 miles away off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean.
Monday morning, Hurricane Douglas was losing steam and becoming a tropical storm heading westward.
“We are grateful that our entire state was spared from severe effects of Hurricane Douglas,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami in a release updating the hurricane. “This was not a practice run for us. It was a real event, and I’m proud of our incident Management Team for having a strong plan in place, and executing our protocols cohesively with our state, county, and federal leaders, along with our private and nonprofit sector partners. Mahalo to our strong and resilient community for staying vigilant and prepared throughout the storm.”
“We had to get some of the lower placed instruments up high because it floods whenever there is heavy rain,” Sam Bodano said. “The boogie boards can get wet because they’re used in the water, anyway.”
When it became apparent the storm was not going to deviate from its track, bringing the threat closer to home, people activated their own disaster plans.
John Kaohelauli‘i said preparation for the arrival of the storm was difficult because a lot of the critical paperwork from the shop had to be transported to their home. They also had to prepare the shop for the hurricane, and following that, work on their own home as well as help with their daughters’ homes.
“You should have seen our daughters up on the rooftops,” Juliet Kaohelauli‘i said. “They were trying to close the vents and remove the roof signs.”
John said they had worked on their homes’ disaster plans ahead of the early closing of the green waste sections of the refuse transfer stations.
“We knew they would either close, or close early,” John said. “We didn’t want to wait until it was too late.”
From that point, they joined other eyes and ears in watching Douglas progress through the state, starting with the miss of the Big Island, but accumulating more than three inches of rain, the close call with Maui that saw the Valley Isle accumulate more than five inches of rain during the storm that recorded a gust of wind at 55 mph off Ka‘ena Point, O‘ahu.
A National Weather Service report claims that Hurricane Douglas is the closest a hurricane has come to O‘ahu since prior to Hurricane Dot in 1959 after data from hurricane hunters and weather radar indicated that the eye of Douglas passed about 30 miles north of Kahuku at around 7 p.m., Sunday. Hurricane Dot passed about 60 miles southwest of the Waianae coastline before making landfall on Kaua‘i.
NWS rainfall totals include O‘ahu getting 2.76 inches in Punalu‘u, and 2.13 inches in Kahuku during the storm where storm surge closed Kamehameha Highway in Ka‘awa for a brief time before the high tide at 6:30 p.m., Sunday.
Kaua‘i rainfall totals include Kapahi rain gauges recording 3.69 inches, the Kilohana gauge registering 3.68 inches, Na Pali State Park reading 2.90 inches, Mount Wai‘ale‘ale receiving 2.86 inches, Anahola getting 2.03 inches, and the Koke‘e State Park getting 2.65 inches of rain during the storm.
Highest wind included 70 mph at Nene Cabin on the Big Island, 55 mph at Kuaoala on O‘ahu, 39 mph at the Barking Sands station, Kaua‘i, and 69 mph at the Kula 1 station on Maui. Lanai Airport reported winds of 45 mph, and Moloka‘i Airport saw 39 mph winds.
“Jasmine had her own disaster story,” Juliet said. “It wasn’t even the storm, and a transformer blew out in front of her house. She called and said, ‘We’re not going to have electricity, and it’s not even the storm, yet.’”
Additionally, Jasmine said she found a dog just before the storm. The dog’s owner came to claim the lost canine at 1 a.m., Monday.
“She said she just couldn’t go to sleep without her dog,” Juliet said.
John, meanwhile, went to bed at 9 p.m., having plans of waking for the 11 p.m. update on Douglas.
“I dunno,” he said. “It must’ve been from moving all those things around. I totally missed getting up. When I got up, it was midnight, and I just went to check, outside. There was no wind so I just went back to bed. We were going to take off today to recover. It appears like everyone is recovering. But, we’re just waiting for Jeni to get here so Jasmine can go to work at Work It Out.”
Sam’s fingers danced the fretboard of the Kamoa ‘ukulele with the familiar strains of “Here Comes the Sun,” a tune by the Beatles that was released in 1969 in its Abbey Road album as Queenie Pezario and her friend arrived for class.
Hurricane Douglas left a flash flood watch in its wake of minimal damage, the watch being in effect through Monday afternoon.