COURTESY OF U.S. COAST GUARD
Two funnel clouds developed yesterday about 1-1/2 miles south of Maalaea Harbor on Maui, above. CLICK FOR LARGE
Storm drenches Big Island, Maui before heading off
The storm is clearing, but humid conditions are likely through weekend
Skies cleared over Kauai and Oahu, but heavy rain was reported on Maui and the Big Island last night, bringing traffic problems and some minor flooding as an early winter storm moved down the island chain.
The storm was expected to move away from the islands overnight, and the sun should peek out from the clouds today, said Kevin Kodama, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service Honolulu office last night. It is likely to be muggy through the weekend until trade winds return next week, he said.
The heavy rains on Oahu contributed to sewage spills totaling more than 350,000 gallons, and caused scattered power outages yesterday.
A flash flood watch and flood advisory were in effect for the Big Island last night because of the threat of heavy showers.
Flooding also caused problems for afternoon commuters on Maui. The junction of Piilani and Mokulele highways was closed in the Kahului-bound direction, as were lanes on Puunene Avenue in Kahului and the Paia Bypass.
On Molokai, debris and water on Kamehameha V Highway closed the only road to the east side of the island yesterday for several hours between Mile Markers 8 and 13 until state and county crews cleared the highway.
The closure stranded a school bus with children who live on the east side. The bus driver waited with them in Kaunakakai until the roads reopened at about 4:30 p.m., said Molokai police Lt. Timi Gapero.
Iao Valley State Park and Baldwin Park were closed yesterday because of flooding and unstable conditions, officials said.
Two water spouts were spotted off Maui, but did not cause any damage.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Matthew Lowry said he saw funnel clouds about 1 1/2 miles south of Maalaea Harbor shortly after noon yesterday. They dissipated when they hit shore, he said.
"It looked just like a little tornado on the water," Lowrey said. "It was a complete funnel."
Weather postpones air drop of provisions
WAILUKU » Bad weather forced cancellation a scheduled air drop by a Hawaii National Guard helicopter of provisions to isolated Kipahulu and Kaupo residents in East Maui, according to a Maui County news release.
The provisions were to include food and fuel to some 300 Kipahulu and 40 Kaupo residents.
Vehicular traffic and transport has been limited and very dangerous due to the damaged Paihi Bridge between Kipahulu and Hana Town and potential landslides on the back road near the Manawainui area near Kaupo, following two earthquakes and torrential rain in mid-October.
The release said the airlift would be rescheduled as soon as possible. Maui Civil Defense chief Gen Iinuma said there were a few buildings on Maui that had been damaged from the earthquakes, but that most of the damage was minor.
The rain postponed an airlift of supplies by the National Guard to Kipahulu and Kaupo residents cut off by the closure of the Paihi Bridge.
On Oahu, workers at KTS Hula Supply on Ahua Street in Mapunapuna arrived at work yesterday morning to find five inches of water on the floor and dozens of boxes of feathers, gourds and other hula implements ruined, said owner Seng Xaysanith.
Xaysanith said he had just moved his business into the new location on Sept. 1. His landlord mentioned that water from the ocean sometimes backs up into the street, but did not tell him that his warehouse and work area could also flood, Xaysanith said.
"I think I'm going to move," he said.
A fire at a Kaimuki house may have been weather-related, fire Capt. Kenison Tejada said. A power wire that ran along the outside of the house was arcing, he said. The fire burned 30 feet under the eaves of the house, causing $50,000 in damage.
Runoff from heavy rain also caused four sewage spills yesterday, the city Department of Environmental Services said in a release:
About 330,000 gallons of primary treated wastewater at the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant ran into a drainage that empties into Honolulu Harbor. The wastewater spilled from odor-control ducts at the plant's clarifiers between 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., city officials said.
At the Kaneohe Pretreatment Facility, about 18,225 gallons of untreated sewage overflowed from two manholes, and an estimated 6,750 gallons of sewage overflowed from a manhole at 45-046 Lilipuna Road into Kaneohe Bay, the city said. Both locations also experienced sewage spills Wednesday.
Sewage overflowing from a manhole in the Dowsett area of Nuuanu, near 3058 Pali Highway, caused about 920 gallons to spill into drainage systems that lead to Nuuanu Stream.
As a precaution, Department of Land and Natural Resources engineers checked the hillside at Roundtop Drive and in Maunalaha Valley, Director Peter Young said. That's where landslides earlier this year forced the closure of Roundtop Drive and threatened homes.
Star-Bulletin reporters Diana Leone, Leila Fujimori and Alexandre Da Silva contributed to this report.