The following is an excerpt from Amanda Sakuma | January 16, 2017 | msnbc.com |
On Christmas Eve in 2008, a slender string of Pacific islands braced for bad weather. As is customary in the Marshall Islands, holiday preparations had begun months before. Baskets filled with food were wrapped up in anticipation of the festivals planned for the following day. Families looked to get a full night’s rest ahead of a day filled with songs and dancing.
But the overnight flooding was worse than expected. Children listening for Santa’s sleigh bells woke up the next morning to see their presents floating in the water.
It was the third storm to hit the country in two weeks. A winter storm of that scale can be a welcome development for surfers hitting the waves along the coastline of Hawaii, but as the waves rippled roughly 3,000 miles southwest through the Pacific Ocean, conditions took a devastating turn.
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