HPD Officer Darren Evangelista directed contra flow traffic on Kahekili Highway, near Hui Iwa Road yesterday morning after a lighting pole fell down during extremely high gusts.

Heavy isle winds bring
mess of problems

By Diana Leone

Winds gusting up to 60 mph whipped across the islands yesterday, causing power outages for more than 9,000 households on Oahu and grounding a boat on Maui.

Seven boats anchored off Kihei were dragging their anchors yesterday because of high wind, but all but one were secured by nightfall, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Wesley Stech. The vessel Messenger of Peace was aground and was to be towed to sea today, he said.

Tree limbs in the yards and on the roadways of Windward Oahu were a common sight yesterday. Leaves and plastic bags remained airborne for minutes at a time as the winds from the southwest spun them around.

Oahu Civil Defense closed Makapuu Beach Park because of high winds there and lifeguards on the North Shore kept busy warning people out of the high surf, said Rob Miller, Honolulu Ocean Safety dispatcher.

Harbormasters at Waianae, Heeia Kea and Haleiwa small boat harbors said they were advising no one to venture into yesterday's blustery conditions and high surf. With few exceptions, boaters obeyed.

"It's good when people use common sense on days like this," said Haleiwa Harbormaster Paul Sensano.

Even congressional candidate Ed Case said he was battling the wind as he waved signs on the Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe. Elections official Will Cadavona said a few polling places were briefly without power, but voting was able to continue.

Hawaiian Electric dealt with a handful of outages that affected more than 9,000 customers, most of them caused by wind, said Hawaiian Electric spokeswoman Lynne Unemori.

Windward areas that suffered power outages due to wind included 400 customers near the Pali Golf course, 933 customers in Kahaluu-Kualoa, about 5,000 customers in Kaneohe, and 953 customers in Kailua, Unemori said.

In addition, HECO crews responded to underground cable problems that caused outages for 1,400 Hawaii Kai customers and an unknown problem that put 500 Waimanalo customers in the dark.

A 3-car accident caused several utility poles to go down on Kamehameha Highway in the area of Helemano Plantation about 3:20 p.m. yesterday, which blocked Wahiawa-bound traffic, and cut power to about 112 HECO customers.

A downed tree limb smashed into a utility pole on the makai side of Kalanianaole Highway just Ewa of Lunalilo Home Road, detouring traffic through the Koko Marina Shopping Center while repairs were made, police and HECO reported.

Neither Kailua police or fire officers responded to a downed monkeypod tree in a Kailua apartment complex. But firefighters with a ladder truck did help two Kailua families extricate yard tents from neighboring utility lines.

A Kailua police officer joked at midday that there was "nothing going on except 10,000 trees down and 50,000 traffic lights out, from Kahuku to Kailua," but added that there were no serious problems, "just a big inconvenience."

The winds were expected to die down to 15 to 25 miles per hour today and change direction and come in from the north and northwest, the weather service said.

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