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South Maui, Up All Night...
March 15, 2011 - Trisha Smith
Councilman Don Couch talks story with "The Weekly Dish" the morning after disastrous evening.
After one hour of "sleep" upon an air mattress in my cruiser van outside a friend's home upon safe grounds in Maui Meadows, I pulled myself together as best as I could, and hustled up to Wailuku to do the usual live Friday morning broadcast of my radio show, THE WEEKLY DISH, on KAOI 1110AM&96.7FM.
Maui was still under a tsunami warning advisory, so i wasn't too keen on my roomie returning home to our oceanfront condo, or I trekking up to town to do a live broadcast in the midst of a natural disaster. But hey, this how we do, ya know? :-)
The KAOI Radio Group station was buzzing with adrenaline and coffee, cracked-out radio folks that apparently got just as much sleep—or maybe even less—than my groovy co-host Shawn Michael and I did.
Thankfully, Shawn Michael is "the man" and was up all night on data Websites, and geeking out on Twitter, acquiring as much information and personal stories as possible so we could relay to the public just what was going on, and where to go from here. Overnight, I was able tapped into my sources as much as possible as well, and as we both residents of Kïhei, we had an interesting perspective of the prior hours' reactions and actions during a state of emergency.
Below is a small kine report from South Maui Councilman Don Couch, whom was gracious enough to call in and give us a live man-on-the-street account of what he experienced and saw in Kïhei after he returned from evacuating.
(And may I just add, it's nice to have an individual in government that really cares enough to be there for their constituents during times of emergencies. Don has been doing a fine job of informing the South Maui community during meetings, radio and newspaper interviews, online social networks like Facebook and out in the neighborhoods during the recent weather travesties and for that, I commend him. I'm not going to lie, the only time I've seen our former leader out and about—excluding election season—was at leisure within some of the area's local bars.)
Councilman Couch was on-air at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, March 11, on the Maui Weekly’s "The Weekly Dish" radio show on KAOI 1110AM & 96.7FM. The political leader was out and about that morning, scoping out neighborhood areas and some of the beaches along the Kïhei coastline, and reporting his findings via the airwaves.
The water came up on South Kïhei Road in several places, he said, including drenching the area around the old Suda Store in North Kïhei, all the way down to Ka‘ono‘ulu Road. Areas remained closed until early that afternoon.
“I’ve been paddling in these waters for years,” he said. “And I’ve never seen these rocks exposed, quite a ways out.”
He was speaking live from “Windersurfers’ Beach,” and said the water was extremely low. Near the Maui Lu, off Ka‘ono‘ulu Road, which was covered in debris and mud—he said he saw the water came up the stream, instead of coming down, within the Kulanihakoi Gulch.
Although the tsunami waves hits, he reminded everyone that we were still had a warning in affect, and that they need to be very careful. He also said to remember that in these situations, we should not take lightly the need for evacuating.
He outlined a variety of Websites the public can visit during a state of emergency on Maui. “The quickest one to find the right link is www.pdc.org, which is a great site to lead the community in the right direction so they can keep up-to-date on what’s going during a state of emergency,” said Couch. “Pacific Disaster Center does a great job of consolidating all the warnings, and points you in the right direction.”
During a tsunami warning, Couch suggests the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a site that is very helpful in preparing for impending tsunami waves, and includes tons of helpful data.
Couch outlined the events that occurred on Friday in South Maui: Tsunami Friday was also a Furlough Friday, so several schools were already closed and many county workers were off. Public workers were busy clearing the roads, and Public Works individuals were out immediately shutting off some of the utilities valves.
Couch said the mayor went viewed the damage by helicopter earlier in the morning, and that he even saw the mayor fly above him near his home in Kïhei.
For more information, visit Couch’s Facebook page, which also included images of the winter flooding.
(I'll be adding more to this blog later... but I must go attend a meeting now... thanks! )
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Environmentalist Dee Larson and South Maui Councilman Don Couch assess the situation within a native plant restoration parcel in Kïhei. Photo: Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez