Heavy rain and damaging winds swept through the BYU–Hawaii campus as a winter storm passed over the islands on Sunday, Feb. 10, resulting in rough weather conditions and extensive power outages throughout Lāʻie.
The State of Hawaii Department of Health closed beach and state parks on Sunday, cautioning the public to avoid the shoreline due to destructive surf and stormy weather. An emergency shelter was setup for the public at the McKay Gymnasium by the American Red Cross.
Power outages affected the BYUH campus from approximately 2 to 8:30 p.m., displacing students as they braced the cold, unwelcoming weather. Surrounding areas including Hau’ula, Kahuku and areas throughout the state were also affected by power outages during the day.
The McKay Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Department of Public Safety office, and the Stake Center were the only places on campus with power.
Approximately 200 students flocked to the stake center during the power outage. Vanessa To, a sophomore studying hospitality and tourism management from China, said, “We were just sitting in our room, the lights started to blink, then the power went out. We went to check on a missionary prep class after the power went out in the Stake Center, and surprisingly the Stake Center still had power.”
Ligia Valencia, a freshman studying biomedical sciences from Missouri, also found herself at the Stake Center during the power outage. Valencia said, “I decided to come to the Stake Center, and now everyone is hibernating here. It’s been crazy ever since.”
Valencia described her eventful day saying, “It’s been a crazy day. It started with some heavy rain this morning before church. Luckily I didn’t get caught in the rain. Afterwards, we shut all the windows because everything was blowing around in the dorms.”
Several students were frustrated by the power outage. Daryle Bilog, a junior majoring in business management from the Philippines, said, “It’s hard. Vending machines are out. We have food in our fridge, but we can’t cook, that’s the problem.”
Bilog continued, “We don’t have Wi-Fi, we can’t communicate with other people. We are international students and we don’t have data.”
Describing what he did during the power outage, Bilog said, “I slept. I slept for 2 hours expecting the power to come back on, and it still didn’t come back on. We were initially told the power would come back at 7:30 p.m., then people said it was 9:00 p.m.”
Of her activities during the blackout, To said, “Talk. We get to have personal interaction instead of being stuck on social media. We’re going back to the old school, where we get to talk to people.”
Valencia also shared her feelings about the day saying it was annoying "because I couldn’t charge my phone. I had some assignments to do, even though I shouldn’t be doing them on Sunday. I’ve been trying to do something spiritual things.
“A lot of people were panicking because they wanted to do homework and other stuff. The Stake Center was so packed with people.”
Despite the conditions and events of the day however, To said, “It makes me grateful. Life is so much easier with power. We use the elevator for the hale, we get to have Wi-Fi, and we get to cook.”