Friday, December 26, 2008

"Weather" or not...

I'll admit that I was a bit nervous to leave Oahu and return to the mainland for Christmas break. My initial anxst appeared when it started rainingin Laie. Not just raining, flooding. As I waded from the library to the testing center knocking out the last of my finals, I could see people frollicking in the newly formed lakes on campus. Kids in their swim trunks ran past with their skim boards and rugby balls in hand anxious to enjoy the saturated fields. I laughed as I though about the fact that this was the Hawaiian version of a snow day. Back home, My friends and I would run to the park with boots and jackets on when it snowed, but here on the island, barefoot was the way to go in the warm rain. "Are you going to play in the flood?" a passing student asked me. I was tempted to drop my physiology book and join the mud rugby game, but couldn't justify the academic expense. The rain and even the flooded campus seemed enjoyable to most at first, but when the water started invading the privacy of dorm rooms, the joy washed out.

The night before I left Oahu, a familiar but out of place voice woke me in the middle of the night. My friend and RA Phil stood calmly in the middle of my room informing me that the Hale was flooding and my roommate and I needed to get everything off the floor. While Phil continued his warnings to the rest of the unit, I got busy lifting what little there was on the floor to higher ground. Luckily, the the threatening flood never made it into our quarters. Somehow though, I knew I wasn't done dealing with the rain.

The floods on North Shore had closed many portions of the highway, leaving BYU students stranded in Laie. This wouldn't have worried me much on any other day, but I needed to get to the airport, and the rain was beginning to threaten my plans. Like some cinematic Christmas miracle, the rain stopped on the day of departure, and I was able to catch my flight to D.C. with Christy. Our friend Rhonda drove us to the airport, and as we approached Honolulu, flood warnings interrupted the radio broadcast. promises of more floods on North Shore were forecast, and I began to wonder whether or not Rhonda would be able to arrive safely home that night.

The conclusion of this saturated story is considerably more bright than its introduction. The flooding in Laie did stop, but many houses were damaged, offices closed for repair, and dorms dampened. Christy and I caught our flight and arrived safely to her family's home in Harper's Ferry. As for Rhonda, she was able to stay in Honolulu that stormy night and drive home the following morning. Thanks to a supportive community, a heroic friend, and a little Christmas magic, the weather proved less of a threat than I thought.

For documentation of the North Shore flood check out: