Hawaii residents in Taiwan bracing for strong storm

By Justin Fujioka
Published On: Jul 11 2013 08:41:00 PM HST

Dozens from Hawaii are hunkering down in Taiwan right now as a typhoon closes in.

HONOLULU -

Dozens from Hawaii are hunkering down in Taiwan as a typhoon closes in.

The governor was one of many from the islands in Taipei this week for Hawaiian Airlines inaugural flights there.

Because of the storm, Abercrombie left early. But several from Hawaii are still in the path of the strong typhoon.

Hawaii resident Catherine Toth said, "It's a little bit cooler than normal, which people here are saying that's what usually happens before a storm or a big typhoon."

Toth was one of dozens from the islands on Hawaiian Airlines' inaugural flight to Taiwan on Tuesday. But for her and many others, the impending weather has turned celebration into apprehension.

"We're freaking out," she said.

Toth told KITV that several Hawaii residents are staying at the W Hotel, and that the staff has been telling guests that everything will be OK as long as they stay at the hotel.

She said, "It's funny because people here in Taiwan don't seem that worried about it."

"I think why I'm not frightened right now is because the local people are actually really calm," said Christina Chuckas, a Hawaii resident also staying at the W. "They reassured us that the building is hurricane proof. So it's got military-grade glass. Glass pretty much covers the whole (outside) of the building. So that makes me feel pretty safe."

Taiwan's last typhoon that was this strong was Saola, about a year ago. It caused widespread flooding, killed at least six people and shut down much of the island for days.

This time around, Toth said the government told people to go home from work early and that a lot of places are now shut down.

As far as Chuckas, she wants her family in Hawaii to know, "I got here safe and sound this morning and to not worry too much because the local people are well prepared for typhoons and weather such as this and i think that we will be OK."

Hawaiian Flight 808, which was scheduled arrive in Honolulu from Taipei at 1:10 p.m. Friday has been delayed at least 12 hours. It's earliest arrival in Hawaii will be 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

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