Cars hang to the inside of the roundabout while driving in the Little Circle in order to avoid the flooded gutters. As rainwater rises over curbs and turns streets into rivers, residents of Laie prepare by putting sandbags in entryways and pumping the water out of their lawns. So describes the days when students and the community are notified of a flash flood warning, a frequent occurrence so far this 2018 Winter Semester.
Stefan Huysmans, an alumni from New Zealand, laughed and said, “When the rains come down the floods come up.” He said the cars parked outside his house risked being damaged. “We literally had to move the cars up the hill.”
Shaelee Johnson, a sophomore from Utah majoring in graphic design, said, “Yeah, I live on Naniloa Loop and our entire front yard and back yard filled up with water, and it came through both doors and flooded our house.”
“The rain is always good,” said Samson Wasson, a senior from Hauula majoring in Hawaiian studies. “We need water, but at the same time we get a lot of rain and a lot of places flood.”
Wasson said he felt like the damage his house sustained wasn’t a big deal because of his preparedness. “We had enough food and we knew what to do in case it did flood really bad. You just got to work [the flooding] into your life.”
Johnson, who had never experienced flooding until recently, said, “We should’ve been prepared because when I got home the night before, the water was an inch below our door. But none of us thought that it would rain that much. We definitely could’ve been more prepared.”
In hopes of salvaging what she could, she laughed and quietly said, “I ended up running to the school and stealing some sandbags.” In the future, she said, “I’ll have sandbags at the doors before it happens.”
Wasson reasoned, “That’s our winter. It’s just the time of the year. I can see how it’s a problem for those houses that flood or get ruined, I can see how [those owners] wouldn’t like it, [but] I look forward to a mix up in the weather.
Despite the damage, the students said the rain brings some positives such as outdoor activities made possible from the large amounts of water. Wasson said, “We go mud sliding when it rains, especially when the power goes out. I’ve taken the opportunity to do fun things on a rainy day like mud sliding or kayaking in the streets.”
Huysmans said, “I like the rain, it’s good sleeping weather but not when it shuts you at home. The whole weekend we chilled at home. We only left the house on Sunday because there was no food left for us to eat.”
Johnson said, “There’s not really indoor actives. Everything is outside. I think [the rain] disrupts fun things. There’s a couple of things you can do in the rain, but mostly everything is surrounded around having sunny weather. I like the rain as long as it’s a one-day thing, not on-going and not when it’s long enough to flood my house. Plus, I ride my bike everywhere, so if it’s too rainy I’ll skip class.”