Crews scramble to clear roads, restore power to hundreds after strong storm barrels over state

Several Hawaii Island communities were digging out Tuesday, a day after a powerful winter storm barreled over the state with strong winds and torrential rains.
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 6:35 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2022 at 5:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Neighborhoods statewide were cleaning up Tuesday, a day after a strong winter storm pummeled the island chain, downing trees, flooding roads and cutting power to thousands.

Maui and Hawaii Island appeared to be hardest hit by the storm ― and recovery efforts are slow-going.

The Maui Department of Water Supply issued a conservation notice for the next 48 hours because “numerous power outages, downed power lines, trees and main line breaks” are slowing repairs.

“Severe flooding has caused debris to block intakes to multiple water treatment facilities, reducing normal flow.”

The downed trees and strong winds led to widespread power outages on Maui — at one point knocking out power to about 12,000 customers on the island ― while more 40,000 on Hawaii Island experienced outages.

Hawaiian Electric said power won’t be restored to hundreds in Waipio, Ahualoa and Ocean View until later this week. Two transmission lines along the Hamakua Coast are in need of repairs.

The storm produced startling images.

In Kihei, a giant eucalyptus tree crashed into a home. Thankfully, there was no one inside at the time.

“As I was recording, the tree just comes crashing down,” said resident Janae Lopez. “I dropped my phone because I was in shock.”

Meanwhile, a resident also captured images of a large tree that fell at the Shops at Wailea, crushing several cars.


And the wind was so strong at Kahului’s airport that it flipped an old Cessna that was not in service.

Nuu Bridge near Kaupo was also washed away because of the heavy rain while South Kihei Road was a muddy mess on Monday afternoon, leaving some who tried to pass through stuck.

On Hawaii Island, downed trees triggered multiple road closures, including on Highway 19 west of Honokaa.

And one resident said storm debris blocked all three ways to leave her property.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before, never,” said Ahualoa resident Paula Nurse.

“I’ve been here 30 years and we’ve had some bad situations up here ― flooding and winds and stuff ― but this was by far the scariest and the worst one.”

Among the biggest surprises from the storm came in Ocean View, where residents captured images of a hailstorm.

Hail also fell on Oahu, Maui and Lanai.

For Oahu, among the biggest threats is brown water. People are being urged to stay out of the water because of debris and the threat of sharks.

And while the storm has passed, disruptions are still being felt at Honolulu’s airport.

On Tuesday, Flight Aware counted at least 51 delays and seven cancellations at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. On Monday, the stormy weather caused more than 400 flight delays and about two dozen cancellations.

Hawaiian Air said it’s offering travel waivers for passengers departing on flights from Tuesday through Christmas.


This story will be updated.