Twister sisters hit Kapolei, agency says


POSTED: Saturday, February 21, 2009

Last week's severe weather was actually twice as bad as first reported.

Two tornadoes—not one, as originally thought—hit in Kapolei last week, causing an estimated $255,000 in damage, officials reported yesterday.

The first tornado, a weak twister, formed near the Makakilo quarry office between Farrington Highway and H-1 freeway at about 12:50 p.m., the National Weather Service said on its Web site.

It lasted some 20 minutes and traveled about one mile. Based on the damage, officials estimated it had three-second gusts of 86 to 110 mph.

Robert Creps, senior vice president of Makakilo Quarry, was skeptical that a tornado hit the quarry.

“;It was a wind event,”; he said. “;What hit the golf course and was in the pictures was not what went through the quarry. It wasn't of that magnitude.”;

At the quarry, wind blew shingles off the roof, snapped tree limbs and tipped over a 36-square-foot plywood guard shack. No one was hurt.

The damage was nominal and the guard shack was righted, Creps said.

At Kapolei Golf Course the same tornado damaged the clubhouse roof and a retractable awning, broke several trees and threw a utility cart about 60 feet into a backhoe. It also threw an employee into a wall; he has since returned to work.

Golf Course Operations Manager Ken Terao said he is still waiting for repair costs, but estimated repairs will cost about $250,000.

A second, weaker tornado touched down northeast of the first twister and traveled less than half a mile. It had three-second gusts of 65 to 85 mph and disappeared in 10 minutes, officials said.

The tornado crossed the North-South Road construction site, makai of H-1 freeway. It caused about $5,000 damage to the site, said Tammy Mori, Department of Transportation spokeswoman. She said it ripped out about 1,000 feet of mesh fence material used to keep down dust.