Sunday, January 4, 2004

Sunbathers and beachgoers returned to Waikiki Beach in droves yesterday to enjoy the clear, sunny weather that was noticeably absent in the same area a day earlier due to the heavy rains. The state Health Department warned people away from 11 other beaches yesterday after sewage overflowed into some Oahu streams.

Record rain is over
as state cleans up

More heavy weather expected
on Thursday should not be
as bad, forecasters predict

The worst is over.

That's what the National Weather Service says about the storm that brought heavy rain and caused mudslides, road closures and flooding last week.

Light rain from the system could persist for some areas of the islands today but the wet weather should completely clear by tomorrow, said National Weather Service lead forecaster Jeff Powell.

The next weather system expected on Thursday should not be as severe, Powell said.

Many parts of the state were cleaning up yesterday after a deluge of rain Friday night.

The American Red Cross of Hawaii offered clean-up assistance and food to about five families in Kaneohe, Waimanalo and Kaimuki yesterday whose homes sustained some flood damage from the rains, said the organization's chief operating officer Cassandra Ely.

"This was a major weather disturbance and all city manpower has been out clearing mudslides," city spokeswoman Carol Costa said.

Honolulu police had diverted traffic in Kailua yesterday morning after flooding made roads in the Kalaheo area impassable.

By last night the only street still closed due to mudslide threat was the 2500 block of Round Top Drive, where large message signs have been installed to alert motorists.

City workers also were out filling potholes, including a large one reported on Keeaumoku Street near the Wal-Mart building site, Costa said.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources hired a contractor to remove four boulders that were in danger of falling onto Diamond Head Road near Beach Road.

The work went pretty quickly yesterday morning, reported DLNR spokeswoman Deborah Ward. Diamond Head Road was reopened to traffic in the afternoon.

Heavy fog caused poor visibility and driving conditions on the H-2 Freeway and Kamehameha Highway between the Leilehua Golf Course and Waikalani Drive yesterday morning.

Kapiolani Park resembled a swamp yesterday after heavy rains battered Oahu.

But Aloha Island Air flights were able to resume to Lanai and Molokai yesterday. The flights were canceled on Friday because of poor visibility and the closure of the Lanai Airport. Visibility improved at both airports and repairs were made to lights on the Lanai runway.

Waialae Country Club was pumping standing water off of greens yesterday, which it normally does after heavy rains, said golf pro John Ramelb.

He said the greens should be in good shape for the Sony Open in two weeks. "For us, it's just another rain."

About 1,500 customers lost power from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. yesterday in the Royal Kunia area, said Hawaiian Electric Co. spokeswoman Lynne Unemori said.

Verizon spokeswoman Ann Nishida said the phone company responded to 2,800 trouble calls on Oahu, 340 on Maui, 150 on the Big Island and 60 on Kauai since Friday night.

More than 2 inches of rain fell in Honolulu Friday, breaking the record of 1.8 inches set in 1982, the weather service said.

Total rainfall for the first two days of the year topped 3 inches, or nearly 25 percent of the 12.7 inches that fell in all of 2003.

On the Big Island, conditions were expected to remain poor at the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, with heavy snow at elevations above 13,000 feet, forecasters said. Winds were expected to be as high as 55 mph, causing blowing and drifting snow that make visibility difficult.

Waialae Country Club workers Isaac Lui, left, and Burton Komesu cleared water from the 17th hole for the upcoming Sony Open.

Reporter Mary Vorsino and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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