An unusually powerful storm hit the Hawaiian Islands on Tuesday, leaving thousands of people without power and flooding the streets of the archipelago.
Dangerous weather conditions have left tourists stranded, many of whom have canceled wedding plans, and some of the islands’ most iconic beaches have been barren amid the threat of flash floods, landslides and tree branches. evergreen trees persisted. It has also brought up to 8 inches of snow to the top of some of the state’s tallest peaks. The conditions imposed Governor David Ige declares state of emergency for all of the state’s islands Monday evening.
Honolulu firefighters carried out about 90 rescues during the storm, including helping five children aged 9 and 10 in a raging stream. They also rescued an elderly woman trapped in a room by floodwaters, firefighters told Hawaii News Now.
“The whole house was then evacuated after a side wall of the house collapsed due to flooding around their house,” the department told the media outlet.
Severe conditions from the storm are expected to continue throughout Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and strong wind gusts to the most populous island in the state of Oahu, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters say the storm is expected to move offshore on Wednesday and allow drier conditions for the rest of the week.
Flood watches will remain in effect for Niihau and Kauai through Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. Oahu’s flash flood warning has ended and “the threat of heavy rain on the island has clearly ended and nothing more than isolated or scattered showers is now expected.”
The storm, which brought at least a foot of water to some areas and allowed for forecasts of wind gusts of up to 100 mph atop some of the island’s peaks, cut power to around 4,500 people Tuesday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.
A 300-foot section of underground cable in downtown Honolulu was damaged due to flooding, and most of the area will not be restored until Wednesday morning, Hawaiian Electric said in a press release.
In Oahu, where four shelters had been opened, most Waikiki beaches were empty on Monday as only a few people walked with umbrellas during heavy downpours. Roads were flooded in the area and cars crept into the city center as water gushed out of manhole covers. Photos on social media of the state’s most populous island showed debris floating in flooded streets and the water rises to the headlights of the cars.
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In Maui, power outages and flooding have been reported, with more than a foot of rain falling in some areas. The southern shores of Maui recorded at least 11.28 inches.
The relentless rain has forced three mainland couples to postpone their Maui wedding plans, said Nicole Bonanno, owner of Bella Bloom Floral, a florist and bridal boutique in Wailea. The weather conditions also resulted in delayed flower deliveries, a lei business without power, and workers braving flooded roads littered with debris, Bonanno said.
“The roads, everything is messy,” she said. “There are a lot of trees down there.”
Veterans and survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack 80 years ago were planning to meet for the anniversary celebration Tuesday morning in Pearl Harbor. Navy spokeswoman Brenda Way told The Associated Press in an email Monday that she had not heard of any discussions about the event being canceled due to the storms.
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The unusually dangerous storm is known as the Kona Depression, a type of seasonal cyclone that can occasionally impact the Hawaiian Islands during the winter months. They form from winds coming from the westerly direction of “Kona” and can bring heavy rain to areas that generally don’t see these conditions at other times of the year, the weather service said.
“It’s possible that up to a foot of rain will fall over Honolulu with a 40-inch local AccuWeather StormMax possible for the southern and southwestern slopes of the islands,” AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said, noting the impacts would continue. on Oahu and Kauai for much of Tuesday.
Along with the rain, the storm brought gusts of up to 90 mph and a blizzard warning over the weekend for the state’s highest peak on the Big Island.
Snow is not uncommon atop Mauna Kea, which peaks at nearly 14,000 feet, and the last blizzard warning was in 2018. No inhabitant lives at the top, but there are telescope and mountain observatories. other offices where civil servants work.
The weather service said there had been reports of 8 inches of snow on the road below the Mauna Kea summit and officials were working to make it custom-made. Up to a foot of snow was expected.
The summit also recorded gusts of around 90 mph. Other areas saw strong gusts of over 50 mph.
Strange lows were also recorded, with Honolulu failing to hit 70 degrees on Saturday and Sunday – the first time this year. The city recorded a record low of 56 degrees, according to AccuWeather.
Contributor: Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; The Associated Press