Is it me or is it everybody who has got time and addiction to track every piece of information that helps to reduce the uncertainty of a natural event that may hit Maui?
First it was the tsunami warning of March 2011. Then the tsunami warning of October 2012. Now it’s tropical storm Flossie, brewing in the Pacific Ocean, heading westbound to the Hawaii islands.
By the time this post is read, it would have passed.
Each of these three events caused me a late night’s sleep. In every case, it was over by the time I woke up the next morning, except for Flossie.
Why would news, forecasts, and gossip about such an event eclipse everything else?
Having experienced 9-11 as an observer in Manhattan, i.e. that of a visitor who felt like she was not supposed to be there and not knowing where to go or what to do, my antennae perk up whenever a potentially catastrophic event is about to occur. Unlike 9-11, you can predict natural disasters. You can track #Flossie the thunder storm.
Living in paradise is steady state. The weather is nearly the same everyday: sunshine and perfect conditions for wearing sleeveless tops, shorts, or dresses/skirts. You don’t have to plan or prepare for tomorrow. Unless you’re an advanced surfer, snorkeling enthusiast, or sailor, you can pretty much count on good beach weather everyday. Life is pretty easy, if you have a roof over your head, a means to get from A to B, and three jobs to make ends meet.
You could say, we’re robust, i.e. not easily affected.
But when an event like tsunami or hurricane happens or heads our way, that’s when we’re reminded that we are hiding behind the illusion of paradise. We’re very vulnerable.
All it takes is for food and fuel to stop coming to the islands — we will get nervous. Each full plane of tourists bring $ to the islands. Each plane carries cargo for the local stores. Gas prices will rise. Shortages will occur, sped up by panic and a run for what’s left.
At time of writing, many flights have been cancelled in anticipation of the tropical storm Flossie though the decreasing momentum of its center may get it downgraded to tropical depression status.
Long time residents know that heavy winds may cause power cuts. Flashflooding may rupture main pipes, contaminate what is normally potable water.
There is a silver lining to tsunami and storm warnings. Surfers get excited by the possibility of high surf. Unlike the rest of us who seek safe shelter and equip ourselves against power and water interruptions, they monitor the web and liaise with their “gang” to see where to catch the waves, if it’s worthwhile.
Monday 29 July 2013 Maui 10:40 am HST