Maui News

Looking back at lessons learned from Hurricane Iniki on 30th anniversary

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Hurricane Iniki making landfall. File photo. PC: public domain / NOAA

In observance of the devastation caused by Hurricane Iniki on Kauaʻi 30 years ago this Sunday, the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency has produced a video interviewing people who looked back at the lessons learned from the incident.

“It was traumatic and a very devastating experience,” recalled JoAnn Yukimura who was then the Kauaʻi County mayor.

Iniki caught the state Civil Defense and residents by surprise when it went from traveling west and south of Kauaʻi to veering north toward Kauaʻi a day before it struck the Garden Isle.


With sustained winds in excess of 140 miles an hour, some 40-50 percent of the homes were damaged or destroyed, and several resorts were severely damaged. The legendary Coco Palms Resort where Elvis Presley was filmed in “Blue Hawaiʻi” never reopened.

Iniki also downed 35% of all power lines on Kauaʻi, causing a blackout over the entire island and wiping out all communications systems.

Yukimura said what saved Kauaʻi was the aloha from people who brought resources to Kauaʻi and the indomitable spirit of Kauaʻi residents to help others, and to rebuild their island.


There have been no direct hits by a hurricane since Iniki, but it left an impact on many Hawaiʻi residents and the construction industry, where home building standards now require “hurricane clips” to secure roofs to the structure of a house.

Besides advising people to store enough food and water for emergencies, those who survived Iniki said families should make arrangements with family members about where they would meet if there was an emergency event and no means of communication.

The video, released during National Preparedness Month, is posted on Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency’s website and on YouTube.


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