Hur­ri­cane Lane throws damper on Hawai­ian wed­ding plans

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - SAMMY HUDES — With files from The As­so­ci­ated Press [email protected]­media.comTwit­ter. com/ Sam­myHudes

If all goes as planned, Cal­gar­ian Noel Black and fi­ancée So­nia will get mar­ried Sun­day by the wa­ter­front on the west coast Hawai­ian dis­trict of Kona.

Whether that hap­pens is up to Mother Na­ture.

“I don’t know what the worstcase sce­nario is if it is a re­ally bad storm,” Black said Thurs­day af­ter­noon as Hur­ri­cane Lane inched closer to the tropical is­land.

“We’re think­ing pos­i­tively so we’re not re­ally go­ing down that road. We’ll just see what hap­pens and play it by ear. It’s just stress­ful be­cause we have more friends still to fly. That’s a bit of a worry.”

The now-Cat­e­gory 3 hur­ri­cane soaked Hawaii’s Big Is­land on Thurs­day, dump­ing 30 cen­time­tres of rain in 12 hours as res­i­dents stocked up on sup­plies and tried to pro­tect their homes ahead of the state’s first hur­ri­cane since 1992.

The U.S. Na­tional Weather Ser­vice warned some areas could see as much as 76 cen­time­tres be­fore the sys­tem passes. Tropical storm con­di­tions, with winds of 118 km/ h, were ex­pected to reach the Big Is­land, Hawaii’s east­ern­most ma­jor is­land, with hur­ri­cane con­di­tions pos­si­ble later in the day.

As of mid­day, the hur­ri­cane was about 520 kilo­me­tres south of Honolulu and mov­ing north­west. The storm was ex­pected to turn to the north later Thurs­day and into Fri­day, when the cen­tre could move closer to por­tions of the main is­lands.

“You’re kind of just wait­ing to see what hap­pens. I think ev­ery­one’s just wait­ing for it to pass,” said Black, who now lives in Aus­tralia. “Last night we thought it was go­ing to hit so we had all the win­dows closed and brought in all the fur­ni­ture. We were filling up ev­ery­thing with wa­ter.”

Christopher Brown, a guest at Black’s wed­ding, said ev­ery­one’s prepar­ing as best they can.

“The other side of the is­land, like the Hilo side, is get­ting quite a bit more rain. High­ways are shut down due to small mud­slides and ev­ery­thing,” said Brown, a fire­fighter from Oko­toks. “There is kind of a sense that things could get bad quite quick. It’s a lit­tle bit cliché, but it’s very much the calm be­fore what will likely be a big storm.”

With con­di­tions ex­pected to worsen, West­Jet can­celled its sched­uled flights in and out of Hawaii for Thurs­day and Fri­day, af­fect­ing routes to and from Van­cou­ver. The air­line said it would have two non-sched­uled re­cov­ery flights out of Hawaii Thurs­day, al­low­ing those sup­posed to fly out of Honolulu and Maui later in the day to es­cape be­fore the worst of the storm blows in.

West­Jet said it was con­tact­ing pas­sen­gers on Fri­day’s can­celled flights to in­form them of plans and to re­book them this weekend.

“We urge our guests to fol­low all emer­gency re­sponse in­struc­tions pro­vided by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties,” West­Jet stated. “The sit­u­a­tion is ex­tremely fluid and we con­tinue to mon­i­tor Hur­ri­cane Lane’s path closely.”

Air Canada said it moved up its one sched­uled Hawaii flight on Thurs­day from Van­cou­ver to beat the hur­ri­cane.

“We’re con­tin­u­ing to mon­i­tor it very closely, and we’re cur­rently eval­u­at­ing the tim­ing of our one Fri­day flight to Hawaii, from Van­cou­ver-Honolulu re­turn,” said an Air Canada spokesper­son, adding it does not have any sched­uled flights to Hawaii from Al­berta.

A travel ad­vi­sory re­mains in place, warn­ing Cana­di­ans to avoid non-es­sen­tial travel to the area.

“There’s no flights out of here. Go­ing home isn’t an op­tion,” Brown said. “Be­ing a tourist in a sit­u­a­tion like that is kind of a unique feel­ing. Some people were talk­ing about go­ing to the other side of the is­land, but they’re cur­rently in worse shape than we are. You’re quite lit­er­ally stuck on an is­land, wait­ing for this to play out.”

Robert Morin and his wife, who are va­ca­tion­ing in Maui, say they hope they’ll be able to get home to Cal­gary on Sun­day, which is when they ’re sup­posed to fly via West­Jet.

“I think we’re well pre­pared but the down­side is the air­port is on the other side of the is­land,” Morin said. “You’ve got to cross the is­land to get there. If they do get those big rains that they’re talk­ing about in the moun­tains and what not, you could have washouts of the roads.”

Morin said they were pre­pared for the worst.

“We went out early and got ex­tra wa­ter, dry goods, food. All of our stuff is packed ... rather than hang­ing in the clos­ets,” he said. “We’ve got our pass­ports and money and car keys and ev­ery­thing sit­ting right by the bed in case you’ve got to get up and leave quick. We could be out of the room in less than five min­utes.”

Still, Black said he and his wifeto-be are stay­ing calm.

“It’s sort of the nor­mal wed­ding stuff that we’re try­ing to do and then we also have the hur­ri­cane thing go­ing on,” he said. “We weren’t ex­pect­ing that, but we don’t re­ally have a choice. It’ll def­i­nitely be a story to tell one day.”

Noel Black and So­nia Tousis are sup­posed to get mar­ried Sun­day in the Kona dis­trict of Hawaii — hur­ri­cane per­mit­ting.

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