Yesterday the faithful throughout the State of Hawaii and throughout the world prayed to God Almighty, imploring that "the stilling of fearsome storms may turn a powerful menace into an occasion for us to praise you." This morning I am pleased to say these were heard and favorably answered.
The National Weather Service feared Iselle would pass between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea and continue across the Big Island. We were told to prepare for the worst and the Iselle would - without a doubt - pass directly over the island of Hawaii. This morning the National Weather Service reports that the two mountains broke up the storm and sent it mostly south of the Big Island because, as one NWS meteorologist said, these storms "don't like land." One might wonder why that wasn't mentioned yesterday. Another meteorologist described is as "the epic battle between geography and weather;" geography clearly won.
As is often the case, the terrible predictions of the meteorologists came to nothing (or at least nowhere near what they foretold). It is one thing to encourage people to prepared and quite another to incite fear and panic.
There are reports of one roof being torn off a building by strong winds last night and rainfalls of about eight inches across the island (though one area of the Big Island received closer to twelve inches of rain). Some power lines were taken out by falling branches, some of which fell across roads, and some areas have some flooding. I have heard no reports of any deaths, or even of any injuries. All is not well, but we are certainly not in a great disaster zone.
Here on the west side of Hawaii, we had some wind (though I see no signs of any damage or even of fallen branches or flowers) and some rain, though I can't imagine we received anywhere close to eight inches. The mountains protected the Kona side of the Big Island from the hurricane, just as the locals said it would all along. This morning the clouds are heavy and thick, but I awoke to the sound of roosters calling for the sun. About fifteen people came to Mass this morning because, as one parishioner told me before Mass, "we had to come to praise God."
Iselle was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm early this morning and now continues on the way by the other islands in the chain. The models indicated that the trajectory of Julio will take that hurricane north of the islands and shouldn't pose too much of a threat to us.