Let’s put this in perspective

Despite our traits of pride and often enormous hubris sometimes the creator let’s the humans get away with most of our foolishness intact. This last hurricane – LANE – is a case in point. With all of our modern tools we tracked it all the way from the Baja, night and day with the infrared channels of the latest satellite technologies, with photographs from the International Space Station showing the giant 500 mile span of the storm, with brave men flying into the eye to measure the windspeed, and with the ominous hour by hour progress reports on all of the emergency channels, the TV, radio, and celphone alerts. It was the equivalent of a Central Pacific Region wide All Points Bulletin. We could track and measure it but in no way were we collectively able to change the course of events. Not even a little bit. And then we go about our business on the next day, knowing that some were buried in the deluge, some were burned out by the wind driven fires ahead of the rain, and to some it was just another rainy day in paradise.

The simple overwhelming fact is the Category 5 storm did not hit any of the islands at full strength. In the end, after travelling 2,500 miles, the storm dropped to Cat 3 and missed our small island by 150 miles. If it had passed closer or farther it would have been much more deadly; closer and the west coast of Hawaii island would have been raked by 130 mph winds, farther and the outer circulation would have had an open run with 75-80 mph winds without hitting the bulk of our sheltering Mauna Loa. We should be down on our knees kissing the ground and thanking our lucky stars. It let us live.

Down here at Ka Lae it was just another day at the beach, another day in paradise. No amount of engaged civic planning, no committee meetings deciding our fate, no proclamations from our leaders had the least effect. The simple fact was the the creator let us get away with it. The gods of the winds spared us.

3 Replies to “Let’s put this in perspective”

  1. These events are made for media, which are all too eager to serve them up to the mouth-watering masses with all their frothy high-tech drama. Easy stories to write from readily available official sources that keep readers on edge for days. Pay no attention if the game upsets you.

  2. Yeah sure, they do what they do. Starting from the source, NOAA has to maximize the potential after being successfully sued by the widows of some fishermen after underforecasting some bad weathers back in the 70’s. As well the media jumps on every event to sell more advertising.
    But perhaps i didn’t make it clear. After running from and staying out and taking a beating from many hurricanes over nearly 50 years at sea, this one as a Cat 5 would have taken most of the housing in Ka’u and turned it into matchsticks.
    As it turned out a Cat 3 had to come by us exactly as it did, not too close, not too far, to do so little damage. 4 feet of rain on the Hiloside was the worst of it. My overarching feeling was that we were blessed by a near miss through no doing of our own, and may ought be properly thankful. The media didn’t spare us, civilization didn’t spare us, the gods of the winds did.

  3. And thanks to the gods of our two towers – Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea – who have a profound influence on the affairs of the Central Pacific from what Iʻve been told by the meteorologist clan.

    To David Hunter Bishopʻs point (Aloha, hope you are doing well wherever you may be!), Iʻm wishing that Hawaiʻi island can stay under the radar and out of the news for the rest of the year; I donʻt like us being in the disaster spotlight all the time. And itʻs bad for tourism (which might be a bit of a silver lining.)

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