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Oahu under flood advisory as rains from Maui reach island

By Craig Gima

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:17 a.m. HST, Jul 30, 2013


The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for Oahu as heavy rains approached the southeastern coast of the island and Tropical Depression Flossie moved away from Maui, where it created a lightning storm that struck a Haiku man.

Forecasters  said radar showed heavy rain approaching Makapuu to Hawaii Kai and Diamond head at 11:12 p.m.

The rain was moving west at 15 to 20 mph. Other locations in the advisory include Ewa, Pearl City, Waimanalo and Downtown Honolulu.

The advisory is in effect until 2:15 a.m.

Earlier Monday evening, lightning struck a man in Haiku and knocked out power briefly to the entire island of Molokai as Flossie rolled over Maui County on its way to Oahu.

The storm, now a rapidly weakening tropical depression with sustained winds under 39 mph, brought thunder, lightning and heavy rain to Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

The lightning storm appeared to be heading to Oahu at about 9 p.m., but radar showed it died out before reaching shore.

Forecasters say heavy rain is still possible overnight for Oahu and Kauai and more rain, even thunder storms, may linger Tuesday and Wednesday after Flossie passes, because of humid and hot conditions.

A spokesman said the Maui County Fire Department received a report that a man was struck by lightning on West Kuiaha Road in Haiku..

Paramedics treated him and took him by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, said Ryan Joslin, a spokesman with the Maui County Paramedics Association.

"He was in stable condition," Joslin said.

The Fire Department also responded to a home at 40 Kipapa Place in Kahului that was struck by lightning. Firefighters discovered a 10 inch hole in the roof from a lightning strike that apparently went through the gable end of the back of the two story home. The hole in the gable was 5 inches in diameter, firefighters said. A resident, who was home when the lightning struck, was not injured. Damage to the home is estimated at $1,000.

Firefighters also responded to a lightning strike at a building near Amala Place and Hobron Road in Kahului, but did not find any indication of a lightning strike.

Power on Molokai was out less than an hour after the island's only power plant was struck by lightning, Maui Electric officials said.

Forecasters expect the storm will move through the islands “pretty quickly”and should be past Kauai and Niihau Tuesday morning.

Flossie caused some wind damage in the Hilo area but it didn’t appear the system would bring as much rain as originally predicted, said Mike Cantin, a coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Honolulu office.

In the 24-hour period ending at 8 p.m. Monday, 5.1 inches at the Kaupo Gap, 4.3 inches at Puu Kukui, and 3.2 inches at Ulupalakua. Hawaii island recorded 2.4 inches at Kahua Ranch , 2.5 inches at Upper Kamuela and 3 inches at Kawainui Stream.

The storm also brought large waves to the east shores of the Big Island, where a high surf advisory is in effect until 6 a.m. today.

The weather service reported a Hilo buoy reading jumped 5 feet in five hours this morning. Hawaii County officials said some areas have seen surf of 8 to 12 feet.

A high surf warning is posted for east-facing shores of Kauai, Molokai and Oahu until early Tuesday morning.

Flossie's power decreased significantly from a high of maximum sustained winds of 70 mph over the weekend, just under the hurricane threshold of 74 mph. Forecasters said wind shear and dry air helped zap Flossie of its power as it approached the Big Island and Maui.

Cantin explained that as Flossie began to weaken, the center of the storm was "fully exposed" and losing its "source of energy."

The storm is expected to continue to dissipate.

In its wake, Flossie is expected to leave hot and muggy tropical conditions for the next couple of days, until the cooling trade winds push the humid air away by Thursday.

Even after Flossie is gone, she could still leave us with heavy afternoon rains, perhaps thunder storms because of the heat and humidity.

The forecast for Honolulu calls for cloudy skies with showers and the chance of heavy rain on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

___

Star-Advertiser reporters and editors Ed Lynch, Gordon Pang, Christie Wilson, William Cole, Nanea Kalani and Rosemarie Bernardo contributed to this story.

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