Hawaii battles complacency after another hurricane near-miss

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Surfers take on large waves generated by Hurricane Douglas at Laie Beach Park, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Laie, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

HONOLULU – Hurricane Douglas joined a long list of hurricanes that have come near the Hawaiian Islands but didn’t cause major damage.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said such experiences unfortunately help people become complacent and think disaster will never strike them.

"What we’re really concerned about is Mother Nature — there’s no way you can control her. And the one time that she does decide to not send a message but really impact our island, it’s going to be when certain people have taken it lightly,” Kawakami said.

Douglas passed about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Maui and possibly even closer to Oahu as a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday.

Despite earlier warnings that Douglas could pass directly over the islands, surfers hit the waves and selfie-takers flocked to the shoreline on Oahu.

Chenay Borja went hiking with her adult son in hopes of seeing some waterfalls. She chose a ridge where there was some flat ground and where she felt she wouldn't get hurt. She also tracked the rain on radar.

She said people on Oahu stock up on food, water and supplies but also like to use the opportunity storms provide to see big surf at spots where there normally wouldn't be waves.

“One day we’re just not going to take it seriously and it’s just going to hit and we’re not going to be prepared for it," Borja said. "And yeah, we buy all the stuff, but we still go toward the storm.”