Hurricane Iselle may not have caused as much damage in Hawaii as was originally feared, but that’s small consolation for the thousands that have suffered power outages as a result of the hurricane.
Roughly 25,000 Hawaii Electric Light customers in Honolulu lost power when the storm hit Friday August 8, according to local news station, KITV4. As of Monday, roughly 8,100 were still without power.
“Unfortunately it looks like the customers who are out of power right now, we’re expecting they’ll still be out of power next week, possibly even longer in some areas such as in the Puna area,” Darren Pai of Hawai'i Electric Light told KITV4.
Hawaii Electric Light opened up a charging station on Monday to allow residents who have been without power for days a chance to recharge their electrical devices. The power company also gave away ice, water and snacks to affected residents.
The electrical company has brought about a dozen crews in from Oahu and California to work on the power outage, according to KITV4.
Iselle damaged roughly 150 homes four businesses and more than 100 telephone and power poles across the state. It was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to hit the island. With estimated damage costing around $53 million, Iselle surpassed Hurricane Dot in 1959 as the third-costliest tropical cyclone to ever hit the U.S. state of Hawaii (after counting for inflation).
The loss of power to businesses and residents in Honolulu highlights the need for proper disaster preparation and power protection planning, even if you reside in a landlocked state. Natural disasters can happen at any time, and studies have shown that power outages that last more than a week kill roughly half of all businesses they affect.
Businesses can help defend against natural disasters through disaster preparation such as employing uninterruptible power supplies for key equipment (firms such as Minuteman Power can help), and by having backup systems in place in case of disruption. Leveraging the cloud can often help, both to enable workers to work remotely, and to keep key business data safe.
For many of the businesses in Honolulu, however, this advice might be a little too late.