@postaday 254; #postaday2011.
When I first came to Hawaii, I was an airman in the U.S. Air Force. I was a computer operator and I worked the graveyard shift with a bunch of guys. I lived in the dorms at Hickam AFB for a couple of months as there wasn’t enough housing for women there. I wasn’t in Hawaii long before the guys started asking me to join them in Waikiki for their surfing sessions. I remember the first time we went. As we drove down Nimitz Highway toward Waikiki, it rained. It didn’t really rain, it sprinkled. Actually, it was more like a mist of cool drops that dusted the air. It almost looked like snow with the sun shining through it.
I thought that rain would mean we would head back to Hickam and skip the beach. It did not. In Hawaii it rains and it stops. That could happen all day. Sure, we have rain for 40 days and 40 nights some years, but that’s the exception. The atmosphere in Hawaii is so dynamic you cannot count on any one weather system in any one place at any one time. I guess that’s why weather newscasters in Hawaii are so popular. I follow a few National Weather Service people on Twitter.
I guess I was bitten by the weather bug when I was an editorial assistant and then a reporter at The Honolulu Advertiser. I was The Weather Goddess for a while, editing the copy for the weather column anchored on A-4. And when I was a reporter, I flew with the Hurricane Hunters into Iniki in 1994. It was the most exciting flight of my life. I was up there from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. flying in and out of the hurricane’s eye watching as the crew dropped sonds from the stubby-nosed C-130 and strapping in each time we penetrated the walls. When we first broke through the eye, the pressure dropped as did we. I’ll have to dig up that story. It ran on the front page.
A few months ago I had a talk with one of my colleagues, an ultra runner, who often takes to the mountain trails steps away from urban Honolulu. Wind and rain are constants in the higher elevations, where flash floods and slippery mud can spell doom for even the most skilled and fit. When it’s raining in the hills, it’s often sunny and bright at the beaches, or in the rain shadows of mountain ranges or dormant volcanoes such as where I live, at the foot of Koko Crater.
How can you be prepared for whatever weather you encounter in Hawaii? Well, you could just wear a bathing suit all the time, but, that’s really not appropriate. I always have a pocket umbrella, but that’s useless if it’s windy. I have a pair of fun rubber boots that I would wear when I was commuting to work by theBus.
Maybe the best preparation is to be resilient. If it rains hard, duck under an eve or into a Starbucks and chill for a little bit. Apply sunscreen every day because you can burn even on cloudy days. This is the tropics. The sun shines, the breezes blow, and you could get whacked by a flying baby coconut if you don’t watch out. Best of all, the sun is always shining somewhere.
Do you know what happens when you turn your back on the sun and face the rain in Hawaii? You see a rainbow. Or two.