It’s been a tough year for some farmers on Hawaii Island, who are still recovering from the damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle last year. And now those same macadamia nut and coffee tree farmers are hoping Hurricane Guillermo doesn’t come their way. “We are doing a lot of praying,” said Randy Stevens of Kau Farms Management. “We are at the hands of Mother Nature when any of these events potentially can impact us.”
Stevens said they’ve replanted 2,000 of the 5,000 macadamia nut trees they lost to Iselle. “It takes the tree seven years before it starts to be fruit and productive. Most of the trees were actually replants from the 2005 windstorm we had,” he said. “In that storm, we lost 15,000 macadamia nut trees.” Stevens added that, if the coffee crop survives Guillermo, about 500,000 pounds of coffee beans will be harvested over the next five months. The National Weather Service said that there could be rain as early as Tuesday for the Big Island and Wednesday for all other islands. East-facing shores could see high surf as well. “A direct hit would not be out of the question, but we are anticipating it to weaken to a tropical storm before it gets here,” said National Weather Service meterologist Matthew Foster. With winds reaching up to 40 miles per hour, some residents are not taking any chances. Leroy Rodrigues of Kalihi picked up a mop, batteries and other supplies for his emergency kit. “I got some batteries, flashlight and now going to pick up my water,” he said.