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Rain and snow reported on Big Island; showers continue elsewhere in Hawaii

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:55 p.m. HST, Dec 10, 2010

Wet weather today led to scattered power outages, long morning commute times and minor damage throughout the state.

Most of the rain has moved over Maui and the Big Island this afternoon, dropping snow on the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and bringing needed water to drought-stricken areas in Kau.

"There's a lot of rain, but not too much wind," said Quince Mento, the Big Island Civil Defense director.

Mento said water is ponding on Kailua-Kona roads, but as of early this afternoon there were no power outages or damages reported on the Big Island.

National Weather Service Forecaster Tim Craig said it appears most of the activity has shifted to Maui and the Big Island.

But, he said the main cold front associated with the storm is still moving towards Kauai and there is still the possibility of thundershowers tonight on Kauai and Oahu.

"The atmosphere is still moist," Craig said. "We've got one last 12 hours that we have to get through before things improve."

Maui Police Lt. Wayne Ibarra said police responded to downed trees, but all Valley Island roads were open and there were no reports of significant property damage.

The heavy rain passed over Oahu overnight, downing trees and causing power outages across the island including Pearl City, Waipahu, Kailua and Kahaluu.

But no major problems were reported.

"We were lucky that the storm moved so quickly," said John Cummings, spokesman for the city Emergency Management Department.

About one-fourth of the roof of Hawaii Pacific Plumbing Supply on Auiki Street in Kalihi was torn off by high winds, company spokesman Jacob White said.

Forecasters say the storm is bringing freezing rain and snow to Big Island summits today. The weather service issued a winter storm warning for Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa until tomorrow. More than six inches of snow is forecast.

The city opened its Emergency Operations Center in the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building at 10:25 last night and closed it with the cancellation of Oahu's flash flood warning at 1:30 this morning.

Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig said firefighters did not receive any calls about flooded homes. However, there were at least four alarms to assist with fallen trees and about the same number of calls for roof damage.

Darren Pai, a Hawaiian Electric Co. spokesman, said there were a number of trouble calls throughout Oahu but no major outages, and all power had been restored by 8 this morning.

On Kauai, which got the most rain, police closed the Hanalei Bridge at 7:25 p.m. last night, county spokeswoman Mary Daubert said. The bridge re-opened at 1:20 a.m. There were also reports on ponding, fallen trees and scattered power outages.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said a few homes in Kokee, Ahina Road in Puhi, Kaholalele Road in Wailua Homesteads, Weke road in Hanalei, Wainiha remained without power this morning.  But crews were dispatched at daylight to restore service.

 On Kauai, the National Weather Service reported 8.5 inches of rain fell at Puu Opae near Kekaha. Hanalei got about 4 inches and 5 inches was reported in Wailua during the 24-hour period ending at 5 a.m.

The storm weakened as it reached Oahu, but the island still got up to 4 inches of rain overnight. The heaviest showers were reported at Punaluu Stream, which received 3.9 inches. Kahuku saw 3 inches and 2.4 inches fell in Mililani.

Most of Maui got 1 to 2 inches fell this morning with Mahinahina, near Kapalua, reporting 2.3 inches by 11:45 a.m. Three inches fell on Lanai City and about 2 to 3 inches of rain was reported on Molokai.

The storm is expected to clear the islands by tomorrow.

But there is still a chance of isolated showers for the Honolulu Marathon Sunday morning. The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with highs between 77 to 82 degrees and tradewinds of 10 to 15 mph.

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