SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Alex Shattuck and his family moved to the island of Maui from Sioux Falls in 2020. He says he’s never experienced a natural disaster like this in his life.

“I’ve never been this proximity to something like this,” said Alex Shattuck who recently left Maui, Hawaii.

Over the years he took notes on the unusual weather conditions.

“All summer was dry, all summer was windy. The island was kind of in a vulnerable state,” said Shattuck.

He says earlier this week the weather was intense.

“When we went to sleep on Monday, we couldn’t sleep. The wind was just absolutely insane,” said Shattuck.

The next day they were told to evacuate their town of Makawao.

“We threw everything in the car. My mom and sister decided to head to another island, where there was a place for them to stay,” he said.

Shattuck left the island Tuesday night right before he heard about the influx of people starting to flee their homes and seek shelter.

“People basically had no warning at all and, you know, either became running or driving for their lives or in some cases, events swimming,” he said.

Lahaina on the west part of the island saw a significant amount of damage.

“For people that have been there know Lahaina and Front Street’s importance. The people that haven’t been, that really is the heart of the island,” Shattuck said.

He says one symbol of hope for the community is the beloved Banyan Tree.

“If that tree survives I think that will really have an impact on how the community responds and rebuilds,” he said.

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