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In wake of big storm, cleanup continues in East Hawaii subdivision

January 24, 2014 - 10:35pm

While the heavy winds and surf began to subside Friday, Hawaii Island residents continued to deal with the aftermath of the foul weather that whipped across the island Wednesday and Thursday.

Derek Wroe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said Friday that fairer conditions were expected for the weekend.

“We’re expecting kind of benign conditions for the Big Island,” he said. “Light winds, clear skies, with some afternoon clouds. Not a whole lot of rain. There are chances of increased rainfall Monday or Tuesday due to a front that’s going to come down. When it does, there may be a chance of heavy showers and other outside thunderstorms. … We may have another shot of the elevated surf late Sunday or Monday — the last in a series of larger swells.”

The weather pattern created plenty of headaches for homeowners and utility companies, with trees downing power lines Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. At least one home in Hawaiian Paradise Park sustained damage after a tree landed on it, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira.

“A tree fell on a lady’s home there,” he said. “There was some damage to the roofing material, but doesn’t appear to be any structural damage to the home.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Land and Natural Resources reported that a total of four boats were grounded this week as a result of the storm, which brought winds of up to 40 knots and heavy surf.

The Division of Boating and Recreation’s Wailoa small boat harbor manager, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers and the Coast Guard responded Wednesday evening to reports of vessels in distress at Reed’s Bay, according to a DLNR release.

“They assisted vessel owners on scene and notified others,” the release stated. “By (Thursday) morning, two had washed ashore from their anchorages in Reed’s Bay and were lying on their sides. Another sank at its mooring. … All vessel owners have contacted salvage companies to assist in removal of the vessels. Environmental damage appears to be minimal as no major fuel spills were reported or observed. There were no injuries or pollution reported.”

The release added that there were no reports of damage to vessels or damage to piers and harbors in West Hawaii.

The Office of Mauna Kea Management reported shutting down the summit road as a result of high winds that gusted at times above 100 mph, with sustained winds measuring up to 80 mph. Work at the Gemini Observatory was halted as a result of the wind.

Wind gauges around Hawaii Island recorded gusts well above 30 mph Wednesday, with Hilo Airport experiencing gusts up to 47 mph, South Point measuring gusts up to 45 mph, and Mauna Loa Slope Observatory seeing gusts up to 43 mph.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. reported that more than 14,000 customers were affected by outages as a result of the storm, with 80 employees working around the clock to make repairs Wednesday and Thursday, according to spokeswoman Rhea Lee. The crews restored power to all areas by 7:30 p.m. Thursday, she said.

“We have also brought in contractors to help us with the power restoration work to do tree trimming, line construction, pole hole digging, and road security work. … We also addressed situations where trees were on customer service lines or in our lines but did not cause an outage,” she wrote in an email.