Hi everyone! A very rare Saturday post here, but I wanted to pop in and say ‘hello’ really fast, because I’ve been getting so many messages of concern from so many friends + readers on how Dane and I fared Hurricane Lane. First and foremost, we did absolutely fine. Hurricane Lane spared most of Oahu, except for a few power outages and steady wind/rain in certain areas. All things considered, we were incredibly fortunate compared to our neighbor islands. The flooding on the Big Island and fires on Maui are heartbreaking. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, let’s rewind a little bit.
Hurricane Lane On Oahu
Last Sunday, we started to hear chatter about a potential storm system moving in toward the islands. It’s hurricane season here in Hawaii, so it’s not unusual. To be honest, Dane and I didn’t think much of it, so we just went about enjoying the rest of our Sheraton Waikiki Staycation. Usually the storms dissipate or head off into another direction, so we just went about things normally. I had plans to fly out Thursday for my best friend’s bachelorette party, so I packed my suitcase and wrapped up a few work projects. On Monday, the hurricane talk really ramped up, to the point that airlines were issuing waivers for incoming flights. I started to get a little bit nervous, but I almost thought that maybe they were being safe rather than sorry. But by Monday night, we knew that this wasn’t going to be a normal hurricane in Hawaii. Accuweather, National Weather Service, The Weather Channel and others began giving live reports from the islands and I honestly just thought “oh shit…”. Things like “most devastating storm to hit the islands” and “potential for crippling damage” were being tossed out and it started to get really real. Hurricane Lane began gaining strength and went from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 5 hurricane with a direct hit to the islands slated for Thursday within hours. I got a notification from Delta that my flight out on Thursday had been waivered and Dane and I (along with the rest of the island) started prepping for the worst. Stores sold out of water, bread and canned goods. Gas stations had lines wrapped around the block. The wait to get into Costco was hundreds of people deep. The check-out lines at stores were hours long. To put it in perspective, Oahu has over a million people with only a limited amount of goods and supplies. When things sell out, they need to be shipped here. It’s not like we are a mainland state like Florida that is accustomed to this sort of situation and the infrastructure of Oahu is, simply put, not equipped for hurricanes. Michael Lowry works for FEMA:
We prepped as best we could, government agencies were putting out alerts it seemed hourly and we stocked up on supplies for both us and the dogs. We filled out bathtubs with water and brought everything inside that could potentially become a harmful flying object. We emptied out our trash cans and recycle bins and filled them with water, too. People in our neighborhood strapped down sheds and boarded their windows. I would be completely remiss in not mentioning that I am extremely grateful for a husband who excels in emergency situations. He has always been this way, but within a few hours, we had our renter’s insurance policy triple checked, all important documents weather proofed, computers backed up to the cloud, important valuables in a weatherproof safe, what little furniture we have put on blocks and supplies in waterproof bags. All counter space was used for buckets of water. We live about 1/2 mile from the beach in a completely flat area, so we knew that any damaging swell would have a pretty high impact on our neighborhood. Just about everything in the state started shutting down Wednesday night.
Dane and I had prepped as best we could and had prepared evacuation bags for us and the dogs. We began to see the reports from the Big Island of Hawaii that rain was dumping in buckets. Thursday happened to be our anniversary, so while it wasn’t how we envisioned celebrating together, we were just feeling grateful to be safe. We kept getting reports that the storm was speeding up and slowing down, so we decided to take the dogs out for a long walk one last time. We stopped by the water to check on the waves. For reference, this area is usually completely flat and these were taken around 1 PM Thursday.
We came home and hunkered down as we kept watching the reports from the other islands of Lane making an impact, but Oahu still wasn’t too crazy. The wind had picked up and the waves were getting bigger, but no crazy rain. At sunset, we decided to go down to the water just the two of us without the dogs (they are fearless and would have wanted to jump in). We saw people out paddling in the water, a weird calmness over Honolulu, waves crashing against the seawall (super unusual), a rainbow right before sunset and the most insanely vibrant sunset we’ve ever experienced here on the islands in nearly 7 years. The colors kept changing and the whole ocean was glowing. None of the photos below have a filter! I captured the rainbow video on my DSLR using my new Sigma lens and the photos are a mix if iPhone and camera. All photos and video below were all taken between 6:15 – 7:15 PM, Thursday 8/23.
The wind was really starting to pick up, so we headed home and went to bed after watching the 11PM update from the National Weather Service. There was already reports of major flooding on the Big Island, brush fires on Maui and crazy winds. We fully expected to wake up on Friday to a deluge of wind and rain. Except we woke up on Friday and it was really just windy. This continued on for most of the day with wind whipping pretty heavily and sprinkles here and there, but thankfully, nothing major or life threatening. Around 11AM, the sirens went off where we live forcing us to stay inside, so we were convinced Lane was about to make landfall on Oahu. We could hear wind whipping against our windows and I saw reported power outages on certain areas of Oahu, but our neighborhood was fine. We got very, very lucky. As the day went on, the reports kept downgrading the storm from Category 5 to 4, all the way down to 1 and then finally around 6PM yesterday we were told it was a tropical storm. We are expected to get wind and rain for the rest of the weekend and through next week, but we are feeling really lucky. Unfortunately, our neighbor islands weren’t as fortunate and are dealing with horrendous damage from both flooding and fires. It’s safe to say that Hawaii has been through the ringer this year with volcanic eruptions, flooding in Hanalei, wildfires across the state and now this. Here is a fundraiser to help with the fires in Lahaina + here is a fundraiser to help re-build a farm that was lost in the Lahaina fires. As far as flooding on the Big Island, I haven’t seen any fundraisers or donation center information, but if I do I will add it in here! Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out, sent messages and asked how we are doing. We felt the love for sure!