CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Enchanted Lake homeowner Harry Lee, 89, above right, was shocked at how his carport roof was lifted and blown 90 feet into a neighbor's yard by high winds. No one was injured in the incident. CLICK FOR LARGE
Wind lashes Windward side
Gusts that reach 55 mph blow roofs and trees and lead to power failures for about 30,000
A houseboat adrift in Kaneohe Bay. More branches blowing onto power lines. Entire trees on their side. Pieces of roofs -- and a whole carport -- flying through the air.
Those were some of the results of southwest winds gusting to 55 mph yesterday that continued to keep tree trimmers, Hawaiian Electric Co. workers, police and firefighters busy on Oahu's Windward side.
A 39-year-old man was hit in the head by a falling tree branch outside the Zippy's Restaurant at 45-270 William Henry Road in Kaneohe at 9:10 a.m., Honolulu emergency services reported.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The beach along Waimea Bay was closed yesterday to all except expert swimmers due to high surf. Les Nakagawa watched the surf enter a beach area where the sand was excavated earlier in the morning to create a waterway to let the water flow out of Waimea Valley. A sand barrier on the beach prevents water from flowing out, and heavy rain causes water to back up into the Waimea Valley Audubon Center if there is no trench connecting the stream to the ocean. CLICK FOR LARGE
Meanwhile, workers at Lopey's Welding were still shaking their heads that no one was hurt when a wind gust on Monday blew out a hollow tile wall in their Kaneohe shop.
The weather service has issued high wind advisories for all islands and high surf advisories for north and west-facing shores until 4 p.m. today. By then, the storm pushing the winds could dump rain on Oahu, National Weather Service forecaster Robert Ballard said last night.
"There's a possibility of some heavy showers as the front comes through," Ballard said. "But it doesn't look like a real drench."
Honolulu lifeguards reported one rescue each at Waimea Bay and Haleiwa.
Enchanted Lake resident Harry Lee was hanging out laundry in his backyard at 8:30 a.m., when he heard his wife, Janet, scream, then call out "What's happening?" from inside the house.
The Lees' carport flew over the top of their house and came to a crashing halt against a neighbor's home, Lee said.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Enchanted Lake residents James and Kimberly Padua flew kites made of plastic shopping bags yesterday after electricity to their area was cut. CLICK FOR LARGE
"It only broke jalousies," Lee said in amazement yesterday afternoon, looking over the backyard fence. "It could have hit that sliding glass door."
Debris that littered the neighbor's yard included a wooden support that measures about 4 by 12 inches by 20 feet long and sheets of plywood with roofing material attached.
When electrician David Vega arrived to see about restoring the Lee's power, he apologized. He'd spent the morning cutting limbs off a mango tree that pulled gutters off his Oneawa Street home, then responded to four other wind-related calls, he said.
On Kailua Road an ironwood tree in Kailua District Park was uprooted, but the city Department of Parks and Recreation was leaving it lay, while city workers and contractors responded to more urgent situations, city urban forestry spokeswoman Terri Ann Koike said.
Her office received more than 200 calls about trees down Monday through yesterday, mostly on the Windward side, Koike said. Because of the call volume, "our priority is responding to any tree blocking access to a roadway or sidewalk," she said.
The trees are used to getting blown from the northeast trades, but are getting hit from the opposite direction with the kona winds, noted HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg.
As many as 30,000 HECO customers lost power yesterday because of wind damage, Rosegg said.
Some outages were just a few minutes, while others lasted for hours, he said. At 9 p.m. only a couple of "small pockets" of customers on the North Shore remained without power, he said.
The owner of a 24-foot, unoccupied houseboat adrift in Kaneohe Bay was working to get it towed in last night, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jesseca Zane said.
Honolulu firefighters responded to seven calls for electrical problems and 27 calls for roofing material blowing off, spokesman Capt. Kenison Tejada said. The most significant incident was the Monday blowout of a hollow-tile wall in Kaneohe, he said.
Brian Lopez, owner of Lopey's Welding, was standing on a stairway inside his shop at 45-558 Kamehameha Highway about 2 p.m. Monday when the wall "just blew away, like something in the movies, like a demolition," he said.
The wall had been built without reinforcing steel or cement inside the hollow tiles, Lopez said. He said his landlord planned to rebuild to current standards.
Waiahole Elementary will be closed today for inspection, after wind blew off a portion of a classroom roof yesterday, the state Department of Education reported. The school is expected to reopen tomorrow.
Waiahole Valley Road was blocked by a blown tree yesterday afternoon, said Kaneohe police Lt. John Cheong. At various points in the day police directed traffic around trees on Saddle City Road in Waimanalo, at Mokapu Saddle Road in Kaneohe and Oneawa Street in Kailua.
"We've had enough of this," he said. "I was hoping that Monday was the worst of it."
Surfer found unconscious on beach dies
WAINIHA, Kauai » A 23-year-old surfer died Tuesday evening after falling on a wave and losing consciousness.
Robert Martin, 23, of Haena was found unconscious on the north end of Wainiha Beach around 6 p.m. Tuesday, fire officials said.
They were responding to a report of a surfer "wiping out" in the area, officials added.
Rescue personnel performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Martin and transported him to Wilcox Hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival.
He is the first drowning victim on Kauai this year.