Winter storm batters state with heavy rains and strong winds

Throughout the day winds brought down trees and left debris strewn across the roads, along with pea-sized hail.
Published: Dec. 18, 2022 at 11:02 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2022 at 10:45 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Heavy rains and strong winds battered parts of the state Monday as a powerful winter storm moved over the islands, triggering power outages, bringing down trees and closing roads.

Hail was also reported in several areas, including on Oahu, Lanai and Hawaii Island.

Here’s the latest:

  • A long list of weather alerts remain in effect, including a flood watch and high wind warning.
  • Hawaii Island county officials report several road closures are in effect, including Highway 19 near Paauilo, Waikoloa Road Alii Drive, Palani Road and Kawaihae Road. Additionally, all Hele-On routes are canceled for the day.
  • Hawaii County has opened two shelters at the Old Airport Gymnasium parking lot in Kailua-Kona and the Waimea Community Center in North Hawaii. Shelters will remain open until further notice.
  • Meanwhile on Oahu, there were nearly 40 calls for downed trees or fallen branches, including a 50-foot tree that came down in Mililani. And in Waipahu, a large tree fell at the Oasis Townhomes, hitting two cars.
  • Crews also spent the day responding to power outages across the state. Weather-related outages impacted about 12,000 customers on Maui while power was cut to about 13,000 customers in Windward Oahu overnight. There were also outages reported on the North Shore, Kailua and Waimanalo.
  • The severe weather also triggered a mess at Hawaii’s airports, where travelers were grappling with dozens of flight delays and cancelations. As of about 1 p.m., there were about 190 delays out of Honolulu.
  • And public workers were busy cleaning up messes across the state. On Molokai, weather-related outages prompted officials to issues a water conservation notice for Kaunakakai. And on Maui, authorities are reporting unsafe conditions on Hana Highway, where boulders and branches are blocking the road.

At Papa Ole’s Kitchen in Hauula, a handful of people hunkered down under Monday morning to wait out a passing thunderstorm. “My family, they gung ho, they gonna stay open,” said Cyla Feli, whose uncle owns the takeout eatery. “We’ll see how the weather goes. It’s been raining heavy like this and then it stops.”

The city partially activated its Emergency Operations Center to respond to the winter storm.

Ahead of the cold front moving in, forecasters urged residents and businesses to prepare for damaging winds and torrential rains by securing outdoor decorations and ensuring they have emergency supplies on hand.

While there didn’t appear to be any major damage from the storm, clean-up was expected to take several days.

The city Parks Department and Recreation Department said several city facilities would be closed temporarily because of heavy rains or so crews can clear fallen trees and branches.

For a full list of disruptions, click here.