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More stormy weather hits Oahu and Kauai

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Honolulu Star-Advertiser

LAST UPDATED: 4:20 a.m. HST, Mar 7, 2012

Photo gallery from readers: More severe weather on Oahu

Photo gallery from Honolulu Star-Advertiser photographers

Storms moving over Oahu, Kauai and Maui County generated thunder, lightning, hail, floods and even waterspouts offshore. Forecasters say more heavy rain is possible tonight and all three counties are under a flash flood watch until 6 a.m. Wednesday.


The National Weather Service said a thunderstorm Tuesday afternoon dropped heavy rain at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour over southeast Oahu, where the ground is already saturated from earlier thunderstorms.

State crews reopened Kalanianaole Highway n Lunalilo Home Road and Kealahou Street near Koko Head Crater earlier this morning after clearing rocks and debris that fell on the road Tuesday.

Diamond Head Road also reopened shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday after being closed in the afternoon because of a rockslide. It was the second time that a rockslide closed Diamond Head Road. The earlier closure happened at about 1:38 a.m. and the road reopened before 7 a.m.

Flooding also closed Kapaa Quarry Road at Kalanianaole Highway Tuesday afternoon. The road opened again Tuesday night.

At about noon Tuesday water was going over Kalanianaole Highway at Kuliouou and rocks fell on the highway near the Halona Blowhole, closing one lane of traffic.

Hail fell in Niu Valley and Aina Haina at about 9:30 a.m. and also fell over Waimanalo this morning.

Bob Chuck, who lives on Opihi Street in Niu Valley, said hail the size of peas "came down in pellets" and covered his backyard in what looked like a blanket of snow.

"It's very, very unusual," Chuck said, noting that the last time he saw hail was when he attended Michigan State University in 1948 and Cornell University a year later.

"I never had it in my backyard," he said.

Aina Haina resident Robert Allen said grape-sized hail fell about 9:30 a.m. at his Akilolo Street home.

"It sounded like rain hitting a tin roof, except we don't have a tin roof,"?he said.

Oahu and Kauai were under a brown water advisory because of the danger from contamination from storm runoff. Residents are warning to stay out of brown coastal waters and other storm runoff.

Lydgate Park on Kauai is closed due to flooding and a spill from the Wailua Wastewater Treatment Facility.  Another wastewater spill on Kauai was reported at the Kapaa Family Housing Facility.

On Oahu, about 10,000 gallons of storm runoff Wastewater and storm runoff overflowed into Palolo Stream. Another 30,000 gallons spilled into Wailuple Stream from another sewer overflow.

In Waipahu, lightning struck a home on Kaiamu Street at 10:55 p.m. Monday.

There was no fire and only minor damage to the wooden structure, said Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig. No one was injured.

Seelig said there were at least 10 calls involving flooded conditions this morning from Waialae Kahala to Hawaii Kai. But no one had to be evacuated and there were no reports of major damage, he said.

However, one home on Tantalus Drive did lose a portion of its roof.

No widespread power outages were reported on Oahu overnight, although damage to underground cables affected homes and businesses in Waianae and Hawaii Kai.

A small pocket of homes in Hawaii Kai — about 35 — were without power this morning.

About 200 homes and businesses in Waianae lost power beginning at 8 p.m. Monday, but HECO said power was restored around 3:30 a.m.

The weather service also reported two waterspouts in the Kaiwi Channel between Molokai and Oahu at 6:43 and 7:24 a.m. Forecasters issued a special marine warning for the area because severe thunderstorms could form more waterspouts.

For the 24-hour period ending at 8 p.m. today, 9.4 inches of rain fell in Waimanalo. About 7.6 inches fell in Niu Valley  and 6.8 inches fell in Hawaii Kai.

Kauai was relatively drier than over the weekend and Monday when up t to 17 inches fell in Hanalei over one 24-hour period  ending Monday night. The highest rainfall total today was in Wainiha where 11.2 inches were recorded. Hanalei saw 5.4 inches and 3.4 inches fell in Kapahi.

Several Kauai schools — Hanalei School; Kilauea Elementary School; Kapaa Elementary School; Kapaa Middle School; Kapaa High School; Kamehameha Schools' Anahola Preschool; and Island School — are closed today because of closed roads and flooding. Hanalei Elementary School will remain closed Wednesday.

Police reopened one lane of the Hanalei Bridge this afternoon. Hanalei had been cutoff since Saturday night when the river overflowed.

Debris and floodwaters remained on portions of Kuhio Highway in Haena and near Kilauea. The south-bound lanes of the Kapaa Bypass Road are closed indefinately because of a culvert collapse. Waapa Road in Nawiliwili is also closed between niumalu Road and Wilcox Road.

Kalihiwai Bridge re-opened at 4 p.m. today after crew members cleared overhanging trees and shored up the roadway, according to Department of Transportation Spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

County  officials said the Wailua Golf Course is closed today and will also be closed Wednesday because of flooding.

The Church of the Pacific in Princeville remained open as a holding area. Other emergency shelters closed this afernoon.

Forecasters say thunderstorms and heavy rains should gradually begin to lessen tonight into Wednesday, as the weather system responsible for the unstable conditions gradually moves away and weakens.

But the threat of thunderstorms and more heavy rain remain in the forecast tonight and there could be more flooding because the ground is soaked.



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