43°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Hawaii recovering from big storm, flood threats remain

HONOLULU — A slow-moving storm that knocked out power, swamped dozens of homes and sent creeks and streams surging had mostly passed over Hawaii on Tuesday, though the threat of flooding lingered in some already-drenched areas.

Showers were tapering off on Oahu, where Pearl Harbor survivors gathered under overcast skies for an 80th anniversary event. The island had received between 6 and 10 inches of rainfall since Monday, but isolated bands of rain were still possible.

A threat of heavy rain continued for the island of Kauai.

The unusually strong winter storm clobbered Hawaii for several days, knocking out power to 42,000 people on Maui and the Big Island, according to the Hawaiian Electric Company. Outages were also reported on other islands, though it wasn’t immediately clear how many were affected.

On Tuesday, the Honolulu Fire Department reported responding to nearly 100 storm-related incidents within 24 hours, including 55 flooded homes. Ten people were also saved from flash flooding: Five boys ages 9 and 10 were pulled from a raging creek Monday; another five people were later rescued from a different stream, and one was sent to a hospital, the agency said. The department also responded to two landslides and four wind-torn roofs.

Several schools were closed on Oahu due to the severe weather. And widespread power outages were reported on the island, including in downtown Honolulu, where utility crews were working to restore electricity after a substation flooded. Police were directing traffic at busy cross streets where traffic lights were out.

Four shelters had been opened on Oahu, and normally busy beaches there remained mostly empty Tuesday morning.

The storm system was expected to move out of Hawaii on Wednesday, two days after Gov. David Ige issued a state of emergency for all the islands.

The Big Island and Maui were mostly clear of the heaviest rain by Tuesday morning.

‘A mess’

On Maui, power outages and flooding were reported in previous days, with more than a foot of rain falling in some areas.

The relentless rain forced three couples from the U.S. mainland to postpone their Maui elopements, said Nicole Bonanno, owner of Bella Bloom Floral, a wedding florist and boutique in Wailea.

“The roads, everything are a mess,” she said. “There are lots of trees down.”

Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth had declared an emergency after heavy rain and winds pounded the island on Sunday. A blizzard warning was issued for the island’s highest peak, Mauna Kea.

Snow is not rare at the summit of Mauna Kea, which is nearly 14,000 feet high. However, the last time there was a blizzard warning for the summit was in 2018.

The storm, known as a “Kona low,” is a unique type of low-pressure system that can form near Hawaii during the winter after gathering huge amounts of tropical moisture from equatorial regions.

“Kona lows tend to move slowly and so they can keep heavy rain and thunder showers focused over one area for a prolonged amount of time, and they can also cause pretty strong to damaging winds,” said meteorologist Robert Ballard, the National Weather Service’s science and operation officer in Hawaii.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Storm Izzy pummels third of country, heads up East Coast

Tens of thousands of customers were without power in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Highway patrols reported hundreds of vehicle accidents, and a tornado ripped through a trailer park in Florida.

 
More worrisome variants expected after omicron, scientists say

“The faster omicron spreads, the more opportunities there are for mutation, potentially leading to more variants,” Leonardo Martinez, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Boston University, said.

‘Prayrs answered’: All Texas synagogue hostages safe, captor killed

Authorities said a man took hostages Saturday during services at a Texas synagogue where the suspect could be heard ranting in a livestream and demanding the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan.

Your missing package may have been stolen from LA train

Thieves have been raiding cargo containers aboard trains nearing downtown Los Angeles for months, taking packages belonging to people across the U.S. and leaving the tracks blanketed with discarded boxes.

How to request a free COVID test kit

A new federal website to request free test kits launches Wednesday, with the first shipments going out to Americans by the end of the month.

Supreme Court stops vaccine mandate for US businesses

The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job.

Small earthquake shakes San Diego area

A magnitude 3.9 earthquake struck an area northeast of San Diego on Wednesday evening but there were no immediate reports of any injuries or serious damage.

US shoppers finding bare shelves at some stores due to COVID

Shortages at U.S. grocery stores have grown more acute in recent weeks as new problems — like the fast-spreading omicron variant — have piled on to the supply chain struggles and labor shortages.

Home COVID tests to be covered by insurers

Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations.