Just a few weeks before spring and Hawaii is getting a drenching. A storm system dumped rain on Kauai, causing flooding, evacuations, and school closures. It’s persistent. It’s been lingering over the state for about a week now, and for the last two nights my neighborhood, Hawaii Kai, has gotten its share of thunder, lightning, and rain.
I love it. I grew up in New Jersey where electrical storms occurred each summer evening, breaking the day’s suffocating heat with dramatically scary thunder and lightning displays. After the rain the asphalt steamed, and we’d go out and float sticks in the watery rapids down the driveway as the setting sun broke through the clouds, casting our long shadows over oily rainbow slicks in the street.
Of course wild weather is dangerous. Drivers need to be more careful, people who live on or near hillsides have to be vigilant about mud and rock slides, drainage ditches overflow because people toss their green waste into them, the ocean isn’t such a great playground when it is brown as far as the eye can see because of the muddy and greasy runoff.
In 2006 it rained in Hawaii 40 days and 40 nights. I worked on the windward side of Oahu, about six miles from home. I had to travel along the Ka Iwi coast and through watery rapids that ran down the rocky hills across Kalanianaole Highway toward the ocean. The cliffs at Makapu’u were caged with steel by the Department of Transportation to keep rocks from falling on passing vehicles because people were getting pounded while driving by. Twice a day I’d say a little prayer. It must have worked because I never got hit. Riding a bike along that cliff is also a crap shoot. I’ve been lucky so far.
This sort of weather isn’t any fun for people who are visiting Hawaii. Or maybe they’re OK with it. Waterfalls and rainbows appear, the colors are rich and saturated, our tropical Islands are vibrant and lush. This is good shopping weather. They should head to Ala Moana Shopping Center or the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and buy some memories.
And this is good weather for being at work or going for a run.