2 AM Hilda Report: Less Wind, More Rain

The latest satellite images and forecasts on Tropical Storm Hilda show the system becoming less organized and predict a path farther south of the island, but the storm is still capable of dumping a lot of rain on the island–partly because it’s moving so slowly.  As of 2 a.m. the storm was 165 miles Southwest of Hilo and moving northwest at about 5 MPH. “This slow motion is expected to continue on Wednesday with a gradual forwad motion and a turn to he west on Wednesday night and Thursday,’ reads the Pacific Hurricane Center’s 2 a.m. public advisory. Maximum sustained winds have now dropped to 45 MPH, with “stronger gusts.”  But the storm still poses substantial dangers, especially from surf and flash flooding. “Swells associated with Tropical Storm Hiloda will produce large ad potentially life threatening surf along east and southeast facing shores of portions of the Hawaiian islands over the next day or two,” said the advisory.  “Hilda may produce 6 to 12 inches of rainfall.  Maximum values of up to 18 inches possible…. These rains could result in life threatening flash floods across portions of the Hawaiian Islands late into Saturday.”

A tropical storm watch remains in effect for Hawaii County. The storm is now expected to degrade to a tropical depression by late Wednesday evening.

Satellite Images for HILDA


Hilda’s Path Creeps Southward, but Not Enough.

The latest map from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center shows the projected path of the storm has crept southward, but the eye is still projected to make landfall near South Point and pass over southern Ka’u and South Kona. Compare the map image below with the satellite image showing the actual size of the storm.  Even if it follows its current projected path, the storm could still cover the entire island.

Hilda is currently still a Category One Hurricane.  It is expected to weaken before it reaches the Big Island, but is still definitely a dangerous storm. The Center’s latest bulletin noted that “A tropical storm watch may be required for the Big Island as early as tonight.”

Hawaii Civil Defense’s latest bulletin on the storm noted that while no tropical storm watches were currently in effect, one may be issued later this evening or tomorrow morning.

“The high surf advisory issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island remains in effect through 6:00am Wednesday morning,” it dded. “Surf heights of 8 to 12 feet along the east facing shores can be expected.  Boat owners and residents in coastal areas are advised to secure all vessels and to take necessary precautions.  We encourage everyone to continue to plan and prepare early for possible storm impacts and to monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.”


Satellite Images for HILDA

5 Day Track for HILDA

Hurricane Hilda: Let’s Hope This Forecast is Wrong, Too

The Pacific Hurricane Center has released a forecast map that appears to show Hurricane Hilda passing directly over the top of  Mauna Loa next Friday.

It’s still early in the forecast period for the storm, however, and the forecast is  likely to change  as the hurricane draws nearer. Tropical Storm Guillermo was forecast to pass just north of Hilo last week, and it ended up giving the island only some high surf. But this storm definitely bears watching.


Kealakekua News — Wave Overtakes Boys; One Is Hospitalized, Another Missing

(Media release) — One 15-year old boy is hospitalized on Oahu and another 15-year old boy is missing following a public accident at Kealakekua Bay on July 4, 2012.

Big Island police received a report at about 3:25 p.m. on July 4th, 2012 that the Hawai?i Fire Department was rescuing one of the boys and searching for the other.

Police determined that both boys were part of a youth tour group and were exploring tidal pools near the Captain Cook monument when a large wave surged into the tidal pool they were both within. A tour group guide jumped into the water and was able to recover and resuscitate one of the boys. The guide was able to flag down a private boater who provided transportation for both individuals, back to Kealakekua Pier. When the group reassembled they discovered that the other boy was missing.

Fire/Rescue crews and Coast Guard personnel are continuing to search the bay and surrounding areas for the missing boy.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Puna News — Nathan Keliikuli Died In A Surfing Accident

(Media release) — A Big Island man died today, Thursday (May 10), from a surfing injury in lower Puna.

The victim has been identified as 42-year-old Nathan Keliikuli of Keaʻau.

At 10 a.m., Puna Patrol officers responded to a report of a surfing accident at Pohoiki Beach.

Officers learned that Keliikuli had reportedly fallen and hit his jaw on his surfboard while surfing. 
Lifeguards found him unconscious and took him to shore, where they attempted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation until Fire Department rescue personnel arrived and took him to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition.

Keliikuli was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:13 a.m.

The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest. Police have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Waikoloa News — Need A Job? Monday Is Hiring Day For Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum

Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum, which will open July 6, is looking for servers, cooks, bartenders, dishwashers, bus help, and host/hostesses. (Image courtesy of Catherine Tarleton.)



(Media release) — The Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum will hold a Hiring Day on Monday, June 6 at the Kings’ Shops, Waikoloa Beach Resort from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Now undergoing an extensive renovation, the restaurant’s grand opening is scheduled for July 3.  Applications will be accepted for all positions: servers, cooks, bartenders, dishwashers, bus help, host/hostesses.

For more information about the Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum, visit EddieAikauRestaurants.com (coming soon) and find them on Facebook.

The Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum will be open daily for lunch and dinner, with live music Thursday through Saturday nights.  The two-story restaurant with indoor-outdoor lakeside seating, is being transformed into a hip yet classic 1960’s-style surf retreat/plantation house, filled with surf memorabilia and mementos of Eddie’s life and surf career.

Winner of multiple Hale ‘Aina Awards, Chef Scott Lutey is creating a new “Contemporary Hawaiian Cuisine” for “Eddie’s” restaurant, based on fresh, sustainable foods from the Big Island.  A waterman himself, Lutey is originally from Maui, and has made a name for himself on four islands. Read more

***Commentary*** Beware Of The Tiger Shark

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Apparently, a tiger shark took a bite on the tail of a woman’s surfboard today at Lyman’s. It is the second time this week a surfer in Kona has had to contend with a shark.

Alaina DeBina reported she and her 3-year-old grandson were paddle boarding and looking for  honu when a shark attacked their board. Now there is the surfer reportedly named Theresa.

Just a sobering reminder it could be any one of us who could suddenly encounter a 16-foot-long beast in the water.  Be careful out there.

Puna News — Folklife Festival Is Saturday At Pohoiki

(Media release) —  One of the most beautiful aspects about living in Hawai’i is the opportunity to live in such a diverse community that is so full of culture. May Day has forever been recognized as the biggest community gathering of ethnic celebration. Halau Hula Te Ha’a Lehua, under the direction of Kumu Hula Kau’ilani Almeida, is building a dream to perpetuate and revive the spirit of May Day with garlands of flowers, living tradition bearers, cultural demonstrations and exhibitions at the 1st Annual May Day Puna Folklife Festival.

Come and be inspired with awe as you sit and kukakuka (talk story) with tradition bearers that will be present at four designated villages including, Hawaii, Pacific Islands, Philippines, and Asian Pacific. Each village will be showcasing various traditional dance, music, food, arts, crafts, demonstrations, and exhibitions. Come and share in this event of unconditional giving as the tradition bearers weave their mana’o as stories into a lasting legacy that you in return will pass down to future generations. This is the spirit you will find at the May Day 2011 Puna Folklife Festival, with its roots based on creating a deeper understanding and respect in our diverse community.

Celebrate May Day with the community…and remember to wear your ethnic attire! This will be a drug and alcohol-free event. Coolers and outside food are not allowed. Programs detailing event schedules for specific exhibitions and demonstrations will be for sale for $5 at the entrance of the festival.

(Submitted by Nicole Olayon.)

Kona News — Apparent Drowning At Kahalu’u

(Media release) — Police have classified the possible drowning of a cruise ship passenger Wednesday, April 13, 2011 as a coroner’s inquest.

Shortly before noon, Kona patrol officers responded to Kona Community Hospital to a report of a man who was dead on arrival.

Kenneth Clem, 65, of Humble, of Texas, was snorkeling with his wife and friends at Kahalu’u Beach Park when a lifeguard noticed he was face down and not moving. The lifeguard pulled him from the water and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation until Fire Department rescue personnel arrived and continued efforts to revive him.

He was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Guest Column — Tsunami Sirens And Effective Leadership

​By Pete Hoffmann

There are times when one wonders whether anyone listens.  Part of the problem may be a lack of communication, or perhaps a lack of understanding of perhaps a lack of leadership.  You decide which of these applies in the recent tsunami siren debacle.
In December 2009, my office initiated discussions with County Civil Defense to address obvious shortfalls in tsunami siren coverage in our resort areas in West Hawaii, brought to my attention by a Puna resident.  A little research also noted that our County code had no requirements for such an early warning system.  The first “tsunami drill” of 26 Feb 2010 highlighted these deficiencies in an actual evacuation, and shortly thereafter, my office prepared a draft amendment to our code to address this issue.
The proposed legislation was referred to both the Planning Commissions, where last November and December, it was met with less than an enthusiastic reception.  The Planning Director criticized the draft proposal on several counts:  this effort shouldn’t be part of the plan approval process, State and County Civil Defense should administer the program, and maybe we shouldn’t inconvenience a developer with the associated costs of installing such a system. Both Planning Commissions gave my proposal a negative recommendation and sent it back to Council for further action.
Now I’ve been a Council member long enough to appreciate that there are many possibilities to address issues of this nature.  I have no difficulty if the Planning Director and the Commissions didn’t agree with my suggestions for resolving the issue, but someone please offer alternatives.  However, none were provided.  When the draft returned to the Council’s Planning Committee in January, I urged the administration to work on some viable options.  Several coastal communities were without an obvious public safety mechanism, our County code included no such requirements, and we already had one tsunami evacuation to prove that my concern was not science fiction.  My pleas fell on deaf ears.  I received ‘thunderous silence’ from the administration.  The only response noted was to suggest that the State should pay for the sirens, and that my proposal did not work with the Planning Department’s plan review process.    
Personally, I really didn’t care who pays for the installation of the sirens.  The real questions remained: when will the sirens be installed and when will a requirement be established?  Surely I couldn’t be the only one who saw this issue.  Where was the administration’s initiative?  Where was effective leadership demonstrated?  And please, let’s stop the bureaucratic double-talk and concentrate on the shortfall.  
In mid-February, after continuing to plead for the administration’s assistance in crafting a bill that would meet its criticisms, the Council’s Planning Committee, frustrated with the administration’s lack of action, approved my proposal sending it to full Council by a vote of 6-3.   Finally, we heard voices from the administration that the Council’s concerns would now be considered.  
On 1 March, State Civil Defense went out on bid to install a number of new civil defense sirens on the Big Island not merely in tsunami evacuation zones.  These would include sirens in areas along the coast where none previously existed: among others, two at Mauna Lani, two in the Waikoloa resort area and one at Kona Village.   On 2 March, we were told that an alternative proposal would be drafted to address the deficiency in our code regarding siren requirements. This flurry of activity did precede the second ‘tsunami drill’ on March 11, and generated a renewed urgency regarding this topic. The new administration proposal has already been placed on both Planning Commission agendas in April and May, and it can be anticipated that the long-sought alternative will be brought to Council sometime in early June.  
The route taken in the effort has been torturous. Would that all tsunamis react with the same ‘glacial speed’ as this legislative process, but at least it is moving forward.  We pride ourselves, with good reason, on the effectiveness of the County’s response to both of the tsunami evacuations and how all assisted.  However, the fact remains that we had thirteen hours and five and a half hours warning respectively.  Would we have been so fortunate if we only had one or two hours notice??  While this issue is finally being addressed and sirens will eventually be installed, after some 15 months of discussion the situation today is: there are significant shortfalls in siren coverage in our resort areas, and no requirement has yet been established for new developments in our code.  Let’s hope for better leadership and let’s pray we don’t have a “third tsunami drill” in which our reaction time would be dramatically reduced as it was in Japan.
(​Pete Hoffmann is a Hawaii County Councilman who represents Kohala.)

Surf — Reflections On And Thank Yous For The Pahoa Surf Film Fest

We at Jeff Hunt Surfboards want to express heartfelt thanks to the following people and organizations for making the 3rd Annual Pahoa Surf Film Fest happen this past weekend.  To Jeff Hunt and staff for all the arrangements made; to Salvatore Luquin for the deal on the Akebono Theater; to Film Commissioner John Mason of the Big Island Film Office for helping with the funding to go toward the theater fee and the insurance payment; to Mainstreet Pahoa Association for helping arrange the insurance;  to VAS Entertainment for the wholesale account for the movies; to Isaac Frazer for the local surf footage and the photo for the poster; to Kathy Plack for the design of the poster; to Grassroots Church for the use of the projector and the sound system; to Vertra for the donation of the sunscreen and to Suzanne Heinzelman for the donation of the Puna Sun Butter.  We were able to give away as prizes the sunscreen and Puna Sun Butter, along with Jeff Hunt tees, tanks, and a longboard skateboard.

This year, with the help of the Film Office, we opted to spend money for advertising.  We paid for a quarter page ad in the the University of Hawaii-Hilo student newspaper, Ke Kalahea, and we paid for radio spots on both B97 and Native FM.  We gave to B97 and Native FM 20 tickets to give away as prizes.  Only one of those comp tickets was redeemed.  The admissions were lower than the previous two years, with little to no advertising at all.

Crunching the numbers and seeing that we spent more money than we made was kind of discouraging.  So, too, was some behind-the-scenes drama involving some of the people asked to help, who, quite honestly were thinking we were receiving more money from the County than we are and wanted a bigger piece of the pie than we could offer.  Suffice it to say, there is a lot of pushing and pulling and prodding that goes with putting on an event.  And there are elements that you have to contend with that really make you question whether or not your efforts are worthwhile.  But I have to tell you just one phone message from a woman inspired by one of the films really went a long way toward reminding us that it isn’t about the money, it’s about providing a healthy and worthwhile venue, it’s about building community. If anything, for Jeff Hunt Surfboards, this surf film fest is our community service project.  Here is that woman’s inspiring message. It’s nice to know that people feel grateful for your work.  Mahalo, Viviane, for taking the time to make the phone call. When we wonder if we really want to go forward with a fourth annual Pahoa Surf Film Fest, we will replay that message.

Surf — George ‘Boogie’ Kalama Has Passed Away

Photo by Tiffany Edwards Hunt. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

Friends say George “Boogie” Kalama passed away last night at Hilo Medical Center.  He had recently been suffering from renal failure. Original Hokulea crew member, musician, humanitarian, patriarch waterman, he will be missed.