A Hawaiian Electric crew looked at cable this morning that high wind blew down onto the median in the 45-000 block of Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe.

Wind knocks out
power to thousands
of isle homes

Windward areas on Oahu and
Kauai are particularly affected

Star-Bulletin staff

Gusty winds swept through the islands this morning -- snapping power lines and tree limbs, and causing sporadic blackouts.

Windward areas on Oahu and Kauai were particularly affected, said Hans Rosendal, lead weather forecaster. He estimated winds were 30 to 40 mph in some Windward spots and may have reached 50 to 60 mph in higher elevations.

"The winds in Manoa may be nothing, but in Kailua, it may be really strong. It all depends on where you are -- even in Honolulu, you may have some strong winds," Rosendal said.

The southwesterly winds, spearheading a cold front expected in the islands tomorrow and Saturday, built up overnight and will strengthen through tonight, Rosendal said. A high-wind watch was issued yesterday.

The high wind will die down when the cold front arrives. Rosendal said, but temperatures will dip to the upper 60s or low 50s at night, he said.

No injury or serious property damage was reported this morning. But weather-related problems kept police, fire and other emergency crews busy.

About 1,500 customers in Waimanalo were without electricity after high wind knocked down a 30-foot-tall tree near the entrance to Bellows Air Force Station, said HECO spokesman Fred Kobashikawa.

The fallen tree took down power lines, knocking out power from about 5:30 a.m. By 8 a.m., power was restored to about two-thirds of the customers, Kobashikawa said.

About 30 customers in Waimanalo had a power outage from 5:37 a.m. to 8:18 a.m. after wind blew down power lines near the entrance to Olomana Golf Course, Kobashikawa said.

About 1,600 homes and businesses in Kaneohe were without power from about 7:50 a.m. Affected areas included Halekou Road, Kanaka Street, Mahinui Road, Apapane Street and Luluku Road, Kobashikawa said.

Police said traffic signals at the intersection of Kahekili and Likelike highways were also affected. Power was restored by 10 a.m.

Broken water mains added to this morning's commuter problems. A 30-inch Punaluu water main that broke Tuesday kept traffic to a crawl on Kamehameha Highway for a third morning. Commuters had to make their way through a contra-flow lane while work crews welded pipes and checked for leaks.

Water officials said repairs were to be completed last night, but efforts to save a large kamani tree near the broken main slowed repair progress. Officials could not say this morning when repairs will be finished.

A ruptured eight-inch water main late last night forced police to close North Kalaheo Avenue to morning traffic between Mokapu Boulevard and Kainui Drive. The Kailua break also cut off water to about 25 homes in the area.

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