(KMSP) - Hurricane Lane, now downgraded to a Category 2 storm, is dropping torrential rain on Hawaii, but the St. Cloud State University women's volleyball team is taking it all in stride.
The team traveled to the Big Island for a volleyball tournament at the University of Hawaii. They spent the last two years raising more than $30,000 to get there.
The team arrived on Saturday. After enjoying a few beautiful days of practice and touring, conditions Wednesday and Thursday became catastrophic, according to many reports. Flooding soaked some areas of the Big Island with 35 inches of rain within 48 hours.
Coach Chad Braeglemann and student athlete Halle Hughes told Fox 9 the team and coaches switched hotels from Kona to Hilo a day early.
“The irony in all of that was that side of the island had less than an inch of rain and we are sitting in 24 inches of it,” said Braeglemann. “There have been road closures, washouts, things like that. So I think we still could have gotten here, but certainly it’s nice to be in this hotel right where we are playing.”
With airlines canceling flights to and from Hawaii - making it impossible for the Huskies to leave even if they wanted to - the team of 25 players and coaches plus more than a dozen family members are making the best of it.
“We had three really nice days here - beautiful gorgeous beaches, did some snorkeling, saw some sea turtles and the luau was really awesome,” said Hughes.
While their first match-up of the season was canceled on Thursday, the weather on the northeast corner of the island where they are staying is looking much better. Wind there reduced Friday to 20 to 30 miles an hour.
“Fingers crossed everything goes smooth,” said Braeglemann. “Right now looks like the hurricane is tracking a little south and west and we will be able to get out of there.”
The team has several games to play before their return flight Saturday. If all goes well they will arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport first thing Sunday morning - just in time for classes to start on Monday.