In July, this Kansas woman moved 3800 miles to the island of Oahu. We came for a job. We put our kids in good schools. We started to settle into a routine. We are slowly getting everything unpacked and the house put in order and taking care of all of those logistical things that happen when you move long distance.
The State of Hawai’i is part of a 1600-mile archipelago of volcanic islands and is home to the most remote city on the planet, with the next nearest metropolis over 2000 miles away. We aren’t near much of anything except tinier islands that stretch back across Eastern Pacific Ocean, a trail left by a volcanic vent over the course of several million years. That volcano continues to erupt as Kilaeau and is currently expanding the size of the Big Island.
Hawai’i is a place where people want to go on vacation. Why? Because the weather is almost always sunny and the air and sea are warm. The ample beaches are sandy and the turquoise water beckons. We go to a beach at least once a week as a family to take a dip and watch life.
Between June and November, it also happens to be Hurricane Season in the Pacific. The likelihood of the major Hawaiian Islands being hit is rare – a small group of islands in a vast ocean makes a tiny target. Conditions have to be just so.
Hurricane Hector passed by with a distant wave in early August, but that storm
went on to break the record as the longest lasting major hurricane on record. (And the entire storm only completely dissipated on August 16th.) Hector’s nearness to the islands, as well as a class assignment about disaster preparation, made me act on getting our supplies together little by little. I planned to stock up over several weeks to the recommended 14-day supply.
Fourteen days because we are out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and it takes at least that long to resupply the island with commodities like bottled water and food. Fourteen days for each person in your household. That’s 28 gallons of drinking water, 28 gallons of general use water, and 14 days worth of non-perishable food to cover 4 people. That’s quite a bit to stock, but I’ve got time, right?
Hurricane Lane has other plans. Hurricane Lane, just two weeks after Hector, is charging at us with torrential bravado. Lane is here, and it is going to drop rain by the truckful on these little islands. The Big Island is already in the deluge. Maui, Lana’i, and Moloka’i are next. On Oahu, we are just waiting for the rain and the wind.
How much of each? Forecasts predict 20 inches or more possible of heavy rain in the next few days. Winds depend on the strength of the storm as it closes in. If the weakening trend holds, this might feel similar to a severe Kansas thunderstorm – with the winds coming from the wrong direction. Either way, I’ll let you all know what happens when we come out the other side.