Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Felicia, Once Upon a Hurricane & her Rainbows

A few days ago Hilo was being cautiously optimistic about Hurricane Felicia which appeared to be heading straight for us as a category 4 Hurricane on Thursday August 6th. There was actually some reason to the optimism, no hurricane has hit the Big Island since they started keeping records of such events. Relatively few hurricanes have even come near the state of Hawaii. Historically, even when it looked like hurricanes were headed right for Hawaii Island, they have veered off, usually hitting Kauai. Only five major hurricanes have done major damage to the Hawaiian Islands since 1950 when instruments and record keeping made it possible to track storms.

Here is a film of the waves yesterday afternoon at what would have been the peak of the storm. For perspective, the rock outcropping in the lower right side of the pictures is about 14' tall. The video is taken from our deck about 90' above the ocean.

This was our first experience at being in the path of a Hurricane, so we took it a little more seriously than some Hilo residents. However, by yesterday, there was a clear shortage of many supplies in town. Batteries, ice, kerosene lamps, propane, milk, bottled water and other goods were in far less abundance. The merchants made a few extra sales. We were prepared to be without running water and electricity for a few days if we had to be.

There were many closings, even the Hilo Farmer's Market was empty yesterday. Schools remained open but state & county beaches and campgrounds were closed. Remote parts of Volcano National Park were also closed.

Here is an example of the hurricanes that have come through Hawaiian waters since they were able to measure them. As you can see, most petered out because of cold pacific waters and some think because of our two mountains on the big island, Mauna Kea (white mountain), the world's tallest sea mountain(measured from the ocean floor) and Mauna Loa (long mountain) the largest volcano on earth, rising from the ocean floor to 30,000 feet, or 13,796 feet on land:

Here is the view from my deck yesterday. We are more than 60 feet above the high tide line and generally in the summer, wave action is much smaller than this:

Here is Honoli'i Surf Beach, one block South of our house, taken yesterday afternoon around 1:00:
And a little closer view puts things in perspective, although the county closed all beaches on Sunday afternoon, nothing could stop Honoli'i Surfers:

This morning, the cruise ship came into port as expected and it is a bright sunny day. I think I will head out to Honoli'i in a bit to watch the surfers.
We received a gift last night at around 6 pm, a series of rainbows over the pacific. They came and went and at times there was a double rainbow. To us it was as if Madame Pele sent her sister Hi'iaka to us a sign that all was well and that she was protecting our island once again.


Georges ABOLIN said...

beautifuuuuuul !

Stephen said...

So Beuatiful...We will be moving to the Big Island. Hilo into a rural area for June, July and August..What is life like around then for you?

Thank you,

Devany said...

Stephen, Lucky you coming to our island for three months! It depends on the elevation and proximity to the ocean as far as what your weather will be like. We get rain in the evenings and sometimes early morning with occasional brief daytime showers in the summer. The heat never gets above 90 in Hilo, but the humidity is high here.