By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer
On Tuesday, August 21, students from all UH campuses received an email stating that Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 storm at the time, was dangerously approaching the islands. Tyler Curtis, a third-year KCC student, was unaware of this until he went into work at Home Depot that afternoon where customers flooded the store in search of hurricane supplies.
“I just know that that day of work, it was beyond crazy,” the 20-year-old said.
With preparations already made by his mother around the house in Honolulu, Curtis was unbothered by the situation believing that the hurricane would avoid the islands. But, for students like Jenny Liu, a first-year KCC student who works at Whole Foods in Kahala, she began to think that the storm was to be taken seriously after seeing several customers buy water on Tuesday morning, which sold out by 10 a.m.
“I was concerned after seeing other’s nervous reactions,” the 19-year-old wrote in an email. “I made sure that my home was well stocked with canned foods, wet wipes, batteries and lanterns, water and essentials to keep us safe if the storm were to hit us directly. I did fear that my home [in Honolulu] would lose power or run out of water.”
As students like Liu frantically prepared with their family, an email then followed on Wednesday afternoon, informing all campuses on Oʻahu that they would be closed from Thursday, August 23, to Sunday, August 26. KCC professor Satoru Shinagawa, who teaches online Japanese classes, was grateful to hear that the campus was closed as a safety measure for everyone on campus.
Shinagawa kept his schedule of homework assignments as planned for his students, but did accommodate to those who were caught up preparing for the worst.
“A few students, I think one is electronic technician and another student works for hotel and they need to prepare just in case, so they contacted me and they said they might not have time for homework depending on how heavily the hurricane effect will be,” the McCully resident said. “[I said] I understand it’s an emergency so if you’re going to be late to turn in homework then that’s no problem.”
Although Hurricane Lane did downgrade to a tropical storm on Friday, August 24, KCC was still closed during this time period and experienced a power outage that affected phone lines, internet connectivity, automatic doors, and refrigeration in the ʻŌhiʻa Cafeteria. Administrative Services updated the campus with an email on Sunday morning informing that electricity has been restored to most of the campus.
Until repairs are made, there is currently one elevator in the ʻŌlapa building out of service, the chapel along Diamond Head road has no electricity, and food service in the cafeteria will be limited due to lack of power that cut off refrigeration.
Students, faculty, and staff are being asked to come prepared to campus on Monday, August 27, when classes will resume. As tropical storm Miriam is being monitored about 1,500 miles from Hawaiʻi, as reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Sunday night, it is being encouraged that everyone continue to stay updated through the UH Alerts and emergency agencies as this brewing storm is expected to turn into a hurricane by Monday night or Tuesday morning.