It's revealed that a major hurricane hit the Big Island and Maui in 1871. Storms of the past are being studied through translating old Hawaiian newspapers. Two professors at UH one specializing in Hawaiian language and another in Ocean and Earth Science are teaming up to translate the largest native-language cache in the Western Hemisphere to preserve the language and find geophysical stories to better understands the weather patterns of today.
Lahainaluna School, which is still open today was the first school built West of the Rocky Mountain and in February 1834 they also produced Ka Lama Hawaii which was the first newspaper West of the Rockies. From 1834 - 1948 over 100 newspapers were printed in Hawaiian, accounting for over 1 million pages of text.
As they say, "It is important to study the past to predict the future" which is why scientists are now translating and studying these old newspapers searching for articles related to meteorology and geology. Studying past storms such as the major hurricane of 1871 helps better define the hurricane risk for the people of Hawaii today. If such a destructive hurricane such as described in the articles hit Hawaii today the destruction would be much greater.