Big Island starts cleaning up, assessing damage in Darby's wake

Big Island starts cleaning up, assessing damage in Darby's wake

HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents, businesses and officials on the Big Island started the process of cleaning up Sunday after the passage of Tropical Storm Darby, which made landfall Saturday afternoon.

Darby brought torrential rain over parts of the island, including some thunderstorms in Ka'u as the center of the storm came ashore. Much of that heavy rain continued into Sunday morning.

"We had to close Highway 11 between Volcano and Naalehu, in a place that's notorious for overrunning and flooding, and that's Highway 11 at the Kawa Flats," said Hawaii County Civil Defense interim administrator Ed Teixeira.

Thousands of Hawaii Electric Light Customers were left in the dark overnight in Puna after falling trees took out power lines. But unlike two years ago, when tropical storm Iselle brought down hundreds of albizia trees and utility lines, Darby's damage was not as widespread.

In downtown Hilo, the plywood was coming off the windows at The Most Irresistible Store in Hilo, which faces the Hilo bay front.

"For me as a small business owner, I just wanted to take precautions just in case, because I would regret later if I hadn't," said store owner Tracie Yoshimoto, as she prepared to reopen Sunday.

Civil defense is already in damage assessment mode, with teams fanning out across the island Sunday.

"Not quite knowing if we're going to come up with a flood disaster, or a disaster caused by wind and rain, but we have to go out and check anyway," said Teixeira.

It should be noted that Darby did something that none of last year's 15 central Pacific cyclones did last year, and that's make landfall. And hurricane season is far from over.

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