Maruo Lee showed off his homemade bicycle Wednesday afternoon in Kakaako while rain from Tropical Storm Olivia whipped makeshift tent encampments on the sidewalk around him.
Lee, 19, said he had been approached by some city workers who informed him and other homeless people that he could shelter at Manoa Valley District Park, one of eight shelters the city opened for people who wanted to get out of the rain.
He thought about it, but ultimately declined.
“But I don’t know about all these other guys,” Lee said, looking around at the other tents.
Actually, few people seemed to be using the shelters, and by early evening Hawaii was no longer under a tropical storm warning as Olivia passed to the southwest. By Thursday morning, it was a tropical depression, although more heavy rain was still possible.
Maruo Lee and his makeshift bike got a soaking from Tropical Storm Olivia on Wednesday.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Red Cross workers at the Manoa shelter said just nine people showed up.
Gov. David Ige and other government officials had urged residents to remain vigilant earlier Wednesday during a press conference. Vice President Mike Pence informed Ige that morning that President Donald Trump had signed a disaster declaration for the state, the governor said.
The declaration would make money and resources readily available should the state need it.
The storm made landfall twice: once in the west Maui mountains and again on Lanai before continuing to move west.
Maui County saw the greatest impact from Olivia.
“We’re coming through this fairly well,” Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said. “I’m not seeing really large areas of damage. No homes destroyed or flooded.”
State and county offices and schools were closed on Maui on Wednesday and about 4,500 Maui Electric Co. customers went without power in Makawao, the mayor said. There were some other outages on the island as well.
About 7,500 people were affected in all, according to Maui County’s website.
It’s too early to fully assess any damage that Olivia may have caused, Arakawa said.
Coast Guard Capt. Michael Long expressed the same sentiment about Hawaii’s ports, which had all reopened by Wednesday evening.
Matthew Foster, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said moisture from Olivia will linger through Friday even though the wind threat has died. This, combined with an upper level system, may trigger heavy rain and possibly thunderstorms on Kauai, Oahu and possibly Molokai, he said.
Honolulu’s H-1 freeway flooded under similar circumstances two years ago after Tropical Storm Darby passed the state and dissipated, he noted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell