DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Makiko Kawamoto, right, struggled with a plastic covering, and friend Rie Tarkoro, looking at her camera, experienced the windy weather yesterday at the Pali Lookout.
Storm blasts through state
Powerful gusts and pounding surf force rescues, shut down ferry service and dim City Lights
STORY SUMMARY »
Hawaii residents and emergency officials held their breaths yesterday as strong winds, big waves and rains battered the islands.
From Kauai to the Big Island, the National Weather Service had Hawaii on high alert until today for high winds and surf and until tomorrow for rain.
Oahu lifeguards rescued three swimmers from waves, and a man was injured seriously when winds apparently knocked down a pole.
The weather yesterday prompted shutdowns of neighbor island parks, city ferry service and Honolulu City Lights.
The city set up emergency shelters mostly on Leeward Oahu.
Strong winds contributed to intermittent power outages and traffic signal failures on the Big Island.
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FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Choppy water in normally placid Keehi Lagoon underscored the strength of southerly winds blowing off the ocean yesterday. Gary Miller, who lives on a boat anchored in the lagoon, made his way to shore to pick up his wife, Linda, who was worried about the increasing winds.
From Kauai to the Big Island, National Weather Service and emergency officials had Hawaii on high alert for gale-force winds, big waves and flash floods.
The weather yesterday prompted the shutdown of neighbor island parks, the city ferry service and Honolulu City Lights, while Oahu lifeguards rescued three swimmers from waves and a man was injured seriously when winds apparently knocked down a pole.
Strong winds contributed to intermittent power outages and traffic signal failures yesterday in various areas of the Big Island, especially Hilo and Puna, Mayor Harry Kim said.
Elementary and preschool students in a Head Start after-school program at Keonepoko School in Puna had to stay inside until workers with Hawaii Electric Light Co. removed a live power line that fell about 3:30 p.m., Kim said.
There's a high surf advisory for north and west shores through 8 this morning with waves expected to reach 18 to 22 feet on north shores today.
High wind warnings on land are in effect until 6 p.m. today, with small craft advisories in all state waters and gale-force winds (higher than 35 mph) in the waters around Kauai and Oahu.
A flash flood watch is in effect through tomorrow afternoon because of saturated ground from recent rains. More heavy rain is expected, first mixed with the wind through late today. Then from isolated thunderstorms and scattered showers through Friday, said National Weather Service forecaster Ian Morrison.
"We'll have 20 to 30 mph winds through at least 6 p.m." today, Morrison said last night.
At 7 p.m. yesterday, Lihue Airport has sustained winds of 35 mph, with gusts to 50, Morrison said.
"These are damaging strong winds," he added. "Batten down the hatches."
Here's a look at some weather effects yesterday, by island:
» Kauai: The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed the Kalalau Trail and Polihale State Park and stopped issuing camping permits for Kokee until the danger has passed, spokeswoman Deborah Ward said.
» Oahu: Lifeguards rescued three swimmers yesterday when they got into trouble in rough surf at Waimea Bay. Ocean safety officials recorded 475 warnings and other preventive actions throughout the day yesterday on the North Shore, according to spokesman Bryan Cheplic.
Lifeguards in Waikiki said 20 people were stung by Portuguese men-of-war brought ashore by the Kona winds.
The city closed its Honolulu City Lights display early at 7 p.m. and canceled trips by TheBoat yesterday afternoon and today. TheBoat riders were offered bus rides instead, city spokesman Bill Brennan said.
The gusty wind apparently contributed to an injury at Dillingham Field in Mokuleia. A man who was assembling a small tent was struck by a pole. He was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in serious but stable condition.
A downed Hawaiian Telcom telephone pole on Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe diverted Kailua-bound traffic yesterday morning and early afternoon. The pole was across the street from St. Mark's Church, 45-720 Kamehameha Highway.
» Maui: Heavy rains Monday night washed out an unpaved road in Kaupo where it crossed Pahini Gulch, a Maui County news release said. County crews cleared large boulders and debris from Piilani Highway and compacted the unpaved road so it could be driven on.
Baldwin and Hookipa beach parks, both closed Monday by high surf damage, remain closed until the weather system passes.
» Molokai: The Coast Guard reported that the Satan Stall, a 42-foot sailboat, went aground off Kaunakakai yesterday afternoon. No one was injured and there was no hazard to navigation, said Lt. John Titchen, public affairs officer. The boat was breaking up in the rough surf, he said.
Star-Bulletin reporter Mary Adamski contributed to this report.