2017 in review: Hawaii's weather proved to be dangerous -- even deadly

2017 in review: Hawaii's weather proved to be dangerous -- even deadly

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As we near the end of 2017, Hawaii News Now is taking a look back at the biggest stories that emerged over the course of a turbulent year for Hawaii.

While the hurricane season in 2017 was very quiet, there was no shortage of dangerous, even deadly weather this past year.

We were only 22 days into 2017 when a Big Island woman was killed in flash flooding. Beth Radl was attempting to walk across a Honokaa driveway covered in fast-moving water when the 47-year-old was swept off her feet and downstream. The raging water came from river that had overflowed its banks.

In early February, quickly deteriorating weather forced the pilot of a Blue Hawaiian tour helicopter to make a precautionary landing at Oahu's Sandy Beach Park. There were several passengers on board, but no one was injured.

Later in the month, strong winds ripped a number of sheet metal ceiling tiles off our state Capitol building. The tiles were decorative, not structural, and most fell safely into the Capitol's reflecting pools.

Just as March began, Red Cross volunteers rushed to assist North Shore residents after flash flooding damaged homes and created a muddy mess. The main stream that runs through Waimea Valley rose so rapidly, it swept away the gauge used to warn of flash flooding.

"We usually set it for when it hits 2 feet, 3 feet, but it went up to 12 feet in a matter of an hour and a half," said Waimea Valley executive director Richard Pezzulo.

Hurricanes were pretty much a no-show this past season with very little action in the Central Pacific. That's a very different story compared to what happened along the U.S. mainland's gulf coast this year.

In October, an intense cold front marched across our island state with strong winds, heavy showers, and thunderstorms. That nasty weather was at least part of the reason a large tree crashed down onto a bus shelter near Ala Moana Center, critically injuring a 19-year-old woman. The shelter fell on top of the woman, trapping her under the debris.

We all learned about "king tides" this past year.

"Never seen this before. I used to come a lot here when I was a kid, and I actually swim a lot here, and I thought it would be interesting just to come and see it," said Kakaako resident Elmer Nakao.

The extremely high tides occurred a number of times, setting new records. And it may be just the beginning. Climate change experts say we should plan for a 2- to 3-foot sea level rise within this century.

The next king tide will come when we are just hours into 2018, and could be especially high

Honolulu high tide will occur at 3:47 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1.

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