Civil Defense: Damage from powerful south shore swell a reminder to be prepared

Monster surf from a powerful swell kept those along Hawaii's southern shores on high alert this weekend.
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 4:08 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 18, 2022 at 5:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Monster surf from a powerful swell kept those along Hawaii’s southern shores on high alert this weekend.

Some of the most striking images came from Hawaii Island as waves crashed a Kona wedding and pummeled a Keauhou townhome complex.

“We went out to dinner because we thought it would be fine and we got back around 10 p.m. and smoke detectors were going off, houses started pulling apart,” said Tanya Fedak, who is visiting Hawaii from Chicago.

“I think three units were completely flooded, all their furniture was gone. We’re the only unit that didn’t have to evacuate, so we got really lucky.”

County officials say the island’s damage from the swell appears to be isolated to that property.

And as of Monday morning, they haven’t received reports of any structural destruction at any county facilities.

“We knew there was gonna be big size,” said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno. “There’s a lot of energy in this swell and that’s why we took the precaution to close all of our beach parks.”

While the county is prepared for any event, emergency preparedness officials say this past weekend served as a reminder that we are in the thick of hurricane season.

“It was a good warm-up as far as working with HIEMA, working with the other counties and the counties departments kind of gearing everybody up to potentially mobilizing and activating for response,” Magno said.

For insurance purposes, it’s also a time to take inventory of all your valuable items in advance of any future storms and check your policy because once a storm is actually coming, the window for prep is short.

“If it was to the point where they were gonna declare either a watch or warning, typically insurance companies will declare a moratorium,” said DTRIC Insurance vice president Mike Mishima.

“So in other words, that’s too late. When a moratorium is declared, you will not be able to purchase insurance, you will not be able to make any changes to your policy.”

Hawaii County officials say that if you have any swell-related damage to report, contact 808-935-0031.

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