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Hawaii Island Shifts to Recovery after Lane Unleashed 4 Feet of 'Biblical Rains'

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As Tropical Storm Lane drifts away from Hawaii, residents of the main island are in recovery mode after getting slammed with “biblical” amounts of rain.
As Tropical Storm Lane drifts away from Hawaii, residents of the main island are in recovery mode after getting slammed with “biblical” amounts of rain.
Friday through early Saturday, firefighters on the Big Island rescued 39 people from flooding. The Big Island’s main town of Hilo found itself submerged in waist-high water.
“It was almost biblical proportions,” said state Sen. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), noting that the ground was soggy on Saturday and it was still raining.
Lane first approached the islands last week as a Category 5 hurricane. Although the storm was downgraded, it still brought nearly four feet of rain.
Ichelle Fukuhara and her family, who live in Keaau Agricultural Lots, were among those rescued Friday as their home was overtaken with floodwaters.
“It happened so rapid and fast that we didn’t expect it,” she told Hawaii News Now . “Tires and branches all just hitting the house and shaking it – we had to just all escape upstairs.”
“They had to tie ropes from our mountain apple tree and to our house foundation and we all had to climb out one at a time,” Fukuhara recalled. “It was very traumatizing having to watch and praying that your kids are going to make it through with the firemen.”
Meanwhile, Honolulu was largely spared, with the storm only depositing a few inches of rain. Shopkeepers there have removed the plywood from their windows and are once again open for business.
“Come in with a surprise on their face, thinking that everything is closed but we’re open. It’s kind of a refuge for these people,” said Renz Ishikawa, who bartends at the Lucky Belly eatery.
The Associated Press reports that the central Pacific typically gets hit with only about four or five named hurricanes a year – fewer than other regions. And Hawaii, AP notes, rarely gets hit, with the last major storm taking place in 1992.
“It’s great that it (Lane) didn’t get us,” said surf shop owner Nick Palumbo II, who resides on the island of Lanai.
Still, he thinks residents should exercise caution and not be lulled into a false sense of security.
“We’re going to get nailed one time, and people are going to not listen, exactly like The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” Palumbo warned.
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