Strong winds batter state, keeping emergency responders busy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Strong winds batter state, keeping emergency responders busy

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Strong winds gusting up to 45 mph downed trees and power lines Wednesday, and kept lifeguards busy as oceangoers got into trouble in wind-whipped waves.

Jeanne Ishikawa, city Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy director, said crews responded to fallen trees in Waianae, Hawaii Kai, Waialae Iki, Wahiawa, Kunia, Pacific Palisades.

"They were all over the place."

Meanwhile, lifeguards worked to keep people safe in choppy, quick-moving waters.

"The wind will be in your face, the spray will be in your face, it's hard to see," said the city Ocean Safety Division's Josh Guerra.

The strong, chilly winds are expected to stick around through Thursday. In a special weather statement, the National Weather Service said a strong area of high pressure north of the islands is to blame for the strong winds.

On Wednesday morning, Waianae saw wind gusts upwards of 27 mph, and winds at Kuaokala Forest Reserve in Waialua were gusting to 45 mph.

A High Wind Warning is in effect through 6 p.m. for Big Island summits. NWS says the summits are seeing 50 to 60 mph winds, with gusts up to 75 mph. Meanwhile, a Wind Advisory has been issued for parts of Lanai and the Big Island.

The strong winds brought down a massive tree near Waianae Elementary School, blocking a driveway. The city estimated the tree was 50 feet tall and about 10 feet wide.

Wind damage was also reported to a structure at the Koko Head Shooting Complex. Officials said strong wind picked up part of the State Sheriffs' structure and flipped it over.

And in Hawaii Kai, police had to cut a fallen tree to clear the road.

Meanwhile, Guerra said there were a number of rescues and preventive actions in waters around Oahu.

On Tuesday, he helped two women waving paddles in the water for help. "They had lost their boards in the wind and were just free floating in the water. It was very lucky we got the 911 call and spotted those two women in the water," he said.

On Wednesday, a father and two sons visiting from Pennsylvania were blown out to sea on their kayak before getting rescued. 

Normal tradewind weather is expected to return Friday.

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