Companies in Hilo begin cleanup efforts after rain hit the island of Hawaii

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Businesses in Hilo are now beginning cleanup efforts after rain hit the island of Hawaii on Friday.

It rained for 90 minutes in Hilo on Friday afternoon

The Simply Sisters store on Kamehameha Avenue observed water entering the store.

“It started flooding the whole downtown area and all the stores, so our store actually got flooded, and so it was just me and three other girls there at the time, so we had to move everything out the window because it started leaking and we had to try and to purify the water and prevent water from entering,” said Makanoe Lagua of Simply Sisters.

Since they didn't have sandbags on hand, they had to improvise.

“We actually used bubble wrap until the sandbags could come later, but we did our best,” Makanoe Lagua said.

First Alert Weather Day: Weather warnings will be issued if heavy rainfall continues

“If the county or the mayor says we should be prepared, we really need to be prepared, and this is a learning experience for us as well, to maybe have our own sandbags and be more mindful,” said Brenda Kenui, manager of Simply Sisters .

“It happened really quickly because I was just talking to her on the phone and I was like, 'Let's break up,' and I said, 'Okay, give me a second and next thing I know I'll get this video.' I'm like, oh my God, I have to get down there.”

Because of their quick thinking, none of the merchandise was damaged and they were still able to hold their Mother's Day sale on Saturday morning.

“We also did some hula and entertainment as part of our Mother's Day weekend, so we have a lot to offer, a lot of specials, 30% off bags, buy one, get half BOGO sale,” said Brenda Kenui.

A few stores down the Bayfront, longtime surf shop owner Stan Lawrence of Orchid Land Surf Shop said his experience from past storms came in handy Friday.

“I've been through this before: the flood of 2000. Yesterday's storm was like a two-hour storm; The 2000 flood was a 12-hour storm, and there was thunder and lightning throughout the night. I happened to be down here and picked up all my low things near the ground; I had piles of merchandise stacked,” Stan Lawrence said.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said cleanup and damage assessment began today.

“From the eyewitness accounts that we have had of what happened down there, we know that some of the businesses or a majority of the businesses in Hilo likely sustained water damage; We know that water has gotten into a number of businesses and then yesterday afternoon we fielded a whole bunch of calls from people asking about sandbags, so we'll be contacting those people to see what kind of damage they did had,” said Talmadge Magno, an administrator with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Department.

To report damage, fill out this assessment form on the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency website or call (808) 935-0031.

Anna Harden

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