Thursday, August 07, 2014

Honolulu Hurricane Watch

Clear morning here. Supposed to hit Big Island this evening, us tomorrow PM. May be a hurricane here, may not be, may hit us solidly, but looks like will pass to south.

Still sunny and light breeze here at 11:30 AM. I've been putting stuff under cover, we both have been cleaning out and repacking our back packs for quick exit if needed, and I have cleaned out and backed the truck into the carport so we can throw stuff in if it looks like we are going to get hit hard.

I sure hope we are spared. There isn't much which can be done if the house goes. There aren't enough shelters on the island.

Maybe this one will finally get the attention of the government so they will start pounding it into everyone's head that everyone is responsible for their own safety. They need to say it loud, and keep saying it. No one is driving in from the next state to help us. Shall tape windows and put some stuff in truck in case we have to evacuate, but looks now like we won't.

It is scary though. This entire ridge community will blow away in a direct hit by a big one (which it looks like we won't have this time..fingers crossed), as will all the older ridge neighborhoods: they were not designed to survive a hurricane. Wind hits the beach at 125, it funnels up the valleys and gets to the ridges at 175-200 mph. I talked with FEMA people a couple weeks ago at a disaster prep fair at the local mall. They are scared silly of a direct hit.

No electricity means no water as the municipal water system pumps all rely on HI Electric, and Hawaiian Electric says it could take months to restore power grid after a very bad hit. Destroyed houses snap off the water laterals, draining the entire water system so it can't be refilled. No pumps are in hurricane resistant buildings, not one of 200 for the system. Imagine over 900,000 people w/o water for several weeks. It doesn't work. FEMA people said they think more people could die from lack of water after a hurricane than from the storm itself. Hence our water stock, and filters for the neighbor's swimming pool. We can filter 6000 gallons, so we and neighbors should be OK on that issue.

When primary response people say they are 'scared shitless', we pay attention. And unlike the Gulf Coast, no one is trucking in relief supplies from the next state the day after a disaster- 4800 mile round trip makes the Berlin Airlift look like a cub scout project. Hawaiian Electric says they can't stock spare poles because of termites, can't fly them in because of creosote, so have to come by ship. So the grid could take months to restore. When Kauai last got hit it took 4 weeks to restore power to the FIRST 20% of customers.

Fire Department people have extremely emphatically told us the same thing: Everyone will be entirely on their own for minimum of a week after a direct hit, maybe more than a month: no phones, no police, no fire department, no ambulances, no nothing. On our own no matter what the problem- fire, looters, rapists, storm injuries, water, food, everything: they have said in as many words that they will not be around to help anyone. The Fire Department reps told me everyone needs a shotgun because no one is coming to help. Imagine that frankness from the primary relief people. We have a lot of bandages and splints, disinfectants, food. As long as it doesn't all blow away, and it look like it won't this time.

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