Flossie lightning strikes Haiku man & Kahului home on Maui - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Flossie lightning strikes Haiku man & Kahului home on Maui

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Even after Flossie weakened to a Tropical Depression, it still put on quite a light show over Maui, Molokai and Oahu before eventually fizzling away Monday night.

"This was a very intense lightning storm so there was plenty of moisture out there.  Whenever we get this thick, humid tropical air masses over us, if we get the right trigger – something to squeeze the atmosphere and lift it, like with Flossie – we're able to get these big thunderstorms," said Mike Cantin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Flossie hit way too close to home for Uilani Endo and her daughter.

"Just a boom—the biggest loudest boom noise you could ever imagine," explained Endo, as she described how lightning struck her Kahului home, shattering glass and ripping a hole in the bathroom roof.

"All of a sudden, I saw a big white flash of lightning come into my room, ricocheting off my bathroom mirror and a big boom, and the whole house just shook," described Endo.

Weather experts say lightning is typical with tropical storms, but Monday night's intense activity is rare for our area.

"Hundreds and hundreds of strikes right over the top of the island and many of them touching the ground, so that's what made it most dangerous last night," explained Cantin.

Officials say one of the most important things to remember during a thunderstorm is the 30/30 rule.  If you see lightning and can't count to 30 before you hear thunder, go inside.  Stay inside at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder you hear.

But being indoors doesn't guarantee you won't get hurt, as Joslyn Minobe learned.

"We would've never thought that opening your kitchen faucet would make you get a shock.  I mean you're thinking, don't go walk outside because there's lightning – you're not thinking about what's going on in your house," said Minobe.  

Her 47-year-old husband, Mark, was struck by lightning inside their Haiku home while washing dishes.

"When he turned the faucet on he received a shock that sent him to his knees.  He saw blue sparks through the pipe," described Minobe over the phone.

Experts say when lightning strikes it can also spread out and hit other objects nearby.

"If you're inside a home— you want to stay away from faucets, you don't want to be running water, you  don't want to be in the shower, you don't want to be in the tub.  Stay off the phone, because if lightning strikes nearby it can shock you through your phone – and stay away from windows.  Stay away from the outside world," explained Cantin.

If you can't get indoors, experts recommend you try getting into a vehicle.  

"A car with a hard top, not a soft-top convertible.  The metal will actually translate the lightning around the vehicle and around you if you stay inside and stay safe," described Cantin.

"If you're stuck outside, stay off the beach.  You don't want to be the tallest thing. Lightning tends to strike the tallest object, so that's trees, poles, homes – and if you're out near the beach, an open area, you will be the tallest thing so your odds go up of being struck," explained Cantin.

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