HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many around the state are remembering the impacts of Hurricane Iniki, it remains the most destructive hurricane to hit Hawaii and those on Kauai still remember that day 30 years ago very vividly.
For some Kauai residents, September 11, 1992, is remembered as a day that took an unexpected turn. Hurricane Iniki was not forecasted to hit the islands, but the hurricane changed course and traveled north, directly impacting Kauai and touching down as a category four storm.
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Kauai resident Edie Ignacio Neumiller said she still remembers that day as if it was yesterday.
Neumiller said, “I remember was, of course, the siren that went off. And we didn’t have much time to prepare.”
Neumiller said her husband was working as security for one of the resorts. She decided to take shelter with her daughter and neighbors at a college building. She could hear the loud noise from the 140 mph winds coming through the windows.
“I remember seeing a lot of debris swirling around in the air,” Neumiller said. “Maybe it was a combination of the wind and the rain that we heard, peeking through the jealousies.”
The following morning, Neumiller said the sun was out and bright on a humid day. She hoped her home was still standing, Neumiller and her neighbor were part of the lucky ones.
Neumiller said, “Both of our houses had our roofs there, their house sustained some damages, broken glass.”
Six people were killed as a result of the hurricane and it caused more than $3 billion in damages, making it the most destructive and strongest hurricane to ever hit the state.
September 11 falls right in the middle of hurricane season, National Weather Service Meteorologist Derek Wroe said this year has been slower than usual, with two to four tropical cyclones in the Pacific so far.
Wroe said it is important to stay ready for an emergency, even during slower seasons.
“It really does only take one, if we had one, one system that became active and impacted the islands that will be significant,” Wroe said. “So, we really wanted to want to drive home to people that it’s important to have a hurricane plan before the season starts.”
Neumiller still has a t-shirt people in the community made as they rebuilt 30 years ago and she has not taken hurricane forecasts lightly after living through Iniki.
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Neumiller said, “Now the weather reports. I mean, we’re glued when we know that there’s a hurricane coming our way and what the strength is, you know.”