A blown roof, landslides and flooding: Front brings severe weather to the state

Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 4:54 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More windy conditions and widespread rain are expected on Tuesday as a cold front remains parked over the Hawaiian Island chain.

On Monday, strong winds and heavy rains buffeted the state, bringing down trees and utility lines, knocking out power in places, and leaving behind a big mess.

Monday night, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino urged residents to stay home and off the roads after a landslide blocked a portion of Honoapiilani Highway. Officials said washing machine-sized boulders fell onto the road near mile marker 35, blocking both lanes of traffic, MPD reported before 7 p.m.

Large boulders blocked a Maui highway.
Large boulders blocked a Maui highway.(Skye Dante)

Another landslide blocked one lane of traffic in Hana near the Waianu fruit stand. And near the Keanae Arboretum, a downed tree also blocked motorists from passing.

Over on Oahu at Maunalani Circle above Kaimuki, a newly-installed roof was blown clear off a home.

Video shows it being picked up and dropping down on a driveway, narrowly missing a car.

Jocelyn O’Neill owns the home and said no one currently lives there. “We’re in the middle of construction, but the roof has been redone,” she said. “Structurally, the roof was fine.”

She added, “Nobody was hurt ― that’s the important thing.”

There were also several reports of downed trees and utility lines, including on Tantalus Drive.

The Department of Environmental Services also reported a sanitary sewer spill along Nuuanu Pali Drive Tuesday afternoon.

“Roots clogged the 8-inch pipe pushing an estimated 3,000 gallons of raw wastewater out a manhole. Approximately 2,000 gallons entered a storm drain leading to Nuuanu Stream, which empties into Honolulu Harbor,” officials said.

The strong winds also kept Hawaiian Electric crews busy.

Throughout the day, outages were reported in Waikiki, Kapahulu and Makaha. It was not immediately known how many were weather-related.

The National Weather Service said a weather station on Kaena Point recorded a 60 mile per hour gust late Monday afternoon. On Kauai, Barking Sands had a gust of 51 miles per hour at about 1 p.m., with Lihue Airport recording a 43 mile per hour gust at about the same time.

In addition to the blustery conditions, parts of Oahu, Maui and Molokai saw heavy rains. A rain gauge at Puu Alii on Molokai received more than 14 inches of rain in 24 hours.

Flooding was reported on Maui, including on Dairy Road.

On Molokai, police reported many rivers were at dangerous flooding levels. Portions of Kamehameha V Highway were closed near Pukoo, where several vehicles had to be pulled out of the water, and Kamalo. Officials also reported widespread power outages on the island.

On Hawaii Island, nine hikers needed to be rescued from rising river waters in Pololu Valley. Click to read more.

The severe weather is thanks to a strong cold front slowly moving over the state.

A flash flood watch remains posted for most of the state Tuesday afternoon, while Molokai remained under a flash flood warning until 11:15 p.m. A wind advisory is also still in effect.

This story will be updated.

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