Another close call as hurricane Ana passes

Written by: 
Morgynne Tora ~ Multimedia Journalist

It was business as usual when Hurricane Ana downgraded to a tropical storm on Oct. 20 as it passed south of Honolulu and left only heavy rain and wind in her wake. However, even though Ana passed by Oahu, her power was heavily felt in the Northwestern Islands of Hawaii, and the storm was predicted to cause erosion and changes in marine life habitats.

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, of the Associated Press, reported, “A hurricane watch remained in effect Monday for portions of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world, located about 1,200 miles from Honolulu.”

Most people forget about a storm once it passes inhabited islands, and according the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Deputy Superintendent Randall Kosaki, a hurricane hit from Ana could pulverize coral reef and sandbars where green sea turtles and monk seals nurture their young. If this were to happen, the only way the coral could grow back is if humans build protective infrastructure for the reef.

In terms of Ana, Kosaki said, “Workers earlier [in the week] moved some Nihoa Miller birds from Nihoa island to Laysan island as a precaution…there are some plants and animals on Nihoa that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.”

"It was a fortuitous track," said Chris Brenchley, a Laie resident and meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu, about Ana turning away from the inhabited Hawaiian islands.

Although Ana passed by the North Shore, BYUH students were worried about their dorms being flooded while also hoping for class cancellations. The only damages from Ana were minor flooding the McKay classroom buildings as well as some overflow of drainage canals throughout campus.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. reported the outer islands of Nihau and Kauai fared well, thanked everybody in disaster preventative efforts, but cautioned everyone to stay prepared.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides guidelines and tips for preparing a 72-hour kit or otherwise with money, ample food and water on its website: https://www.lds.org/topics/food-storage/frequently-asked-questions?lang=...

In terms of preserving the wildlife from tropical storms and hurricanes like Ana, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument calls to action volunteers who have excellent communication skills and have an interest in the Monument and marine ecosystems and environmental issues. The Monument’s website includes other ways of getting involved in volunteer preservation work and can be found here at http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/involved/involved.html