Leeward Coast Suffers Major Storm Damage

By Diane Ako & videojournalist Ericson Cristobal

NANAKULI (KHNL) - The wind knocked down dozens of phone poles and trees right over Farrington Highway in Nanakuli, causing power outages and traffic tie ups all along the Leeward coast.

The trouble started in the pre dawn hours. Phone poles snapped, leaving wires dangling across the road. Trees fell across the highway. Traffic built up just before 5 am because police closed the road.

Nancy Wolfgang heard the commotion and went out to look. "Holy cow, that wind must have been really strong. They must have been picked up and thrown!" she says, referring to the poles that the wind snapped in half.

Chopper 8 shows the destruction: wires lying across roofs of homes and businesses. This Fasstop gas station suffered the worst damage. Crews worked to restore power in this and many locations. Witnesses say at 3 am the transformer blew near Mc Donald's. Next door at Tesoro Gas, clerk Francine Paaluhi ran for cover. "It looked like a meteorite was coming for our store."

The pole fell, and lines came down on this truck; the driver, James Antone, still inside."It jumped out of the truck and left it there. I just went run over here. I got so scared."

The wires just missed Antone as he ran away. He is lucky to be alive and unhurt. "I had chicken skin running away from there."

Turbulent surf pounds the beaches as Leeward residents hunker down and prepare for another day of storms.