Powerful winds damage homes, down power lines across state

Wind advisory cancelled for Kauai, Oahu; extended for rest of state

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Strong winds have diminished slightly for the islands of Kauai and Oahu, but continue to blow for the rest of the state. The National Weather Service has once again extended the wind advisory statewide for Molokai, Maui, Maui, Kahoolawe and the lower slopes of the Big Island until 6 a.m. Monday

Winds are still locally gusty on Kauai and Oahu, but are now below advisory levels, forecasters said.

Forecasters said that east winds of 25 to 45 miles per hour were still possible, with the strongest winds over the exposed upper ridges and slopes of Haleakala on Maui and Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

Gusts as high as 56 miles per hour were reported in the Kawaihae area of the Big Island of Hawaii early Saturday, where a whirlwind ripped the roof off a house that was under renovation. Parts of the corrugated metal flew into an electrical transformer, causing an explosion.

"The neighbor's roof just came right up, and it was in the air, and this huge ball of fire -- I didn't quite understand at that point what happened, but it hit our transformer," said Kailapa Subdivision resident Michelle Kealoha. Large portions of the corrugated metal roofing ended up several yards away.

The Hawaii Fire Department also said a home on Puukamalii Street had its garage roof blown off, which caused damage to a neighboring residence. A third home which was still under construction collapsed in the wind. Fire officials said there were no injuries.

"Last night it was just constant, like the house was shaking," said Kealoha. "You could feel the shaking of your home, and you can hear loose things flying around the yard."

In another part of Kawaihae, Puna Kaimakini took a look at one of the solar panels on his roof, which apparently was damaged by the wind.

"We were sleeping and we heard like a big bomb going off," said Kaimakini. "Actually, it was in the morning, maybe about one o'clock. We could hear the wind going off and the wind was chattering and we could tell something was real bad."

Hawaii Electric Light Company also reported that the Hawi Renewable Development Wind Farm tripped off line, interrupting power to about 6,542 customers in Pepeekeo, South Point and various parts of Kona. Power from other generators was restored within three minutes. HELCO said the cause of the interruption was being investigated.

On Oahu, the Honolulu Fire Department said crews responded to six reports of blown roofs and three downed trees. Most of the blown roof calls were for roofing materials flying off, such as shingles, said Fire Capt. Robert Main. However, he added that a home on Krauss Street in Papakolea had a blown roof, but fire crews couldn't go up because of extensive termite damage.

Mariners should be aware of rough and hazardous seas. Gale Warnings are up for the Alenuihaha and Pailolo channels as well as coastal waters lee of the Big Island. All other Hawaii waters have a Small Craft Advisory, all until at least 6 a.m. Sunday.

A building high pressure system north of the islands is the reason for the windy weather. The winds are not expected to diminish until early next week.

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