Big Isle residents
calm in face of
possible storm

Hurricane Jimena may hit
tomorrow, but people aren't
rushing to stock up, stores say

If Hurricane Jimena brings heavy rains and winds to the Big Island early tomorrow as forecast, the small community of Naalehu would be as likely as anywhere to feel the effects of the storm.

But at the Naalehu Fruit Stand yesterday, "everybody's talking about it, but no one seems to be worried," manager Sterling Holeso said.

The convenience store and deli, one of few businesses in the community nearest the southernmost point of the island, carries bottled water, candles, batteries and other such hurricane supplies, "but no one's buying it yet," Holeso said.

"Everybody feels like it's not going to do anything, like we're not going to be affected," he said.

The Big Island Civil Defense Agency activated an emergency operations center yesterday and began issuing radio announcements to update the public about Jimena's progress.

"It's time for people to take action, to commence preparations," Civil Defense Chief Troy Kendrid said, noting that Big Island police and fire departments, county, state and federal officials are all in contact.

A 110-foot Coast Guard vessel normally berthed in Hilo will move out to sea away from the storm today, while it remains on alert, said Petty Officer Kien Pham.

Elsewhere around the Big Island yesterday, even those making preparations for the storm weren't rushing around.

At the Home Depot store in Kona, electrical generators are sold out. Flashlights, first-aid kids, electrical cords, fire extinguishers, batteries and trash bags were also selling well, said assistant store manager Greg Hart.

"It's mostly things people realized they could probably use in their home anyway," Hart said.

People also were picking up the store's hurricane awareness guide, with a list of suggested items to have on hand before and after a hurricane, Hart said.

The scene was similar at Ace Hardware in Captain Cook, supervisor Teresa Morinoue said. "They're just shopping casually, for batteries and flashlights, containers for storage, all that good stuff," she said.

Sonja Oberosler, who has lived in Ocean View Ranchos for 20 years, said she will "watch the weather report and see where it goes."

Oberosler tracks rainfall and said her property this year has been quite dry. Only the months of January, June and July saw even 1 inch of rain, she said, while August so far is 0.15 inch.

Her hope for the hurricane, she said, "is for it to bring rain."


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