RON MCOMBER / COURTESY TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
A crane picked up what was left of a 20-foot office trailer yesterday at Kaumalapau Harbor, Lanai, after a tornado tore it off of its foundation and threw it downhill onto the roadway.
Tornado damage is $50,000
The rare occurrence on Lanai whips up Kaumalapau Harbor
A rare Hawaii tornado destroyed a construction office trailer and lifted two others from their foundations at Kaumalapau Harbor in southwestern Lanai.
"They had hurricane strapping ... but I guess it wasn't enough," said Paul Trocinski, project supervisor for Traylor Pacific, which used the trailers.
No one was injured from the small tornado, which touched down at about 9:35 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service said. The weather service listed the storm as a F-zero (the weakest on the Fujita scale of zero to 5) with winds between 40 and 72 mph.
Weather Service officials said a storm northwest of Kauai has been responsible for heavy rains, gusty winds, lightning and hail, as well as waterspouts and the tornado.
Officials said while rare, tornadoes do occur in Hawaii, and since 1950, 34 tornadoes have been recorded in the state -- the strongest on the Big Island in 1971 which did $2.5 million in damage.
Kaumalapau serves as the commercial harbor where barges load and offload containers once a week and is not located close to a visitor destination.
State transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa said harbor operations were not affected by the tornado and that the next barge is expected to arrive as scheduled on Thursday.
Traylor Pacific said preliminary damage was estimated at about $50,000.
The tornado also snapped an electric pole and destroyed state restroom facilities at the harbor, tossing corrugated roofing sections onto power lines, authorities said.
"It just destroyed it and scattered it all over the place," Lanai resident Ron McOmber said.
Traylor is completing a $21.2 million harbor repair project issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Trocinski said he does not expect the project's completion to be pushed back and that the tornado did not affect a large construction crane at the harbor jetty.
The road to Kaumalapau Harbor was reopened before noon yesterday.