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Weather roils Oahu

    Alongside the railroad tracks running parallel to Roosevelt Avenue in Kapolei, repair crews from Hawaiian Telcom and Oceanic Time Warner Cable worked yesterday to replace more than a dozen utility poles, holding telephone and television cables, that were toppled by the storm.
    Matt Fesulai, 30, of Iroquois Point loaded water and ice yesterday with the help of son Nathan Kaukani, 10. Fesulai, a corrections officer, said the school shutdown forced him to take the day off to take care of his family.
    A repairman radioed in a report on road conditions amid fallen power poles yesterday along Fort Weaver Road. A storm rakes the islands with winds gusting to 51 mph.
    Police closed Nehoa Street yesterday morning between Makiki and Punahou streets in Honolulu because of a leaning power pole near the Angaroa apartment building.

The gusty, rainy weather that caused damage in parts of Oahu yesterday is expected to ease this weekend and move down the island chain.

"We will not be seeing strong winds at low elevations compared to what we saw (Thursday) night," Tom Birchard, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service, said yesterday.

Wind gauges at Kalaeloa Airport and Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe recorded gusts as high as 51 mph between 3 and 4 a.m. yesterday.

The winds, combined with brief but intense downpours, toppled utility poles and trees, closed roads, knocked some TV channels off the air and prompted officials to close Ewa schools and some parks.

Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said that between 3:15 and 7:15 a.m. yesterday the Fire Department received 45 weather-related calls.

"There were about 30 tree-related incidents," Seelig said.

Seelig said the Fire Department received a half-dozen calls about roof damage caused by falling trees but that only a few were caused by the wind.

He said rain over the previous few days might have saturated the ground, making trees and utility poles more prone to fall.

In the 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m. yesterday, Honouliuli received 1 inch of rain, Schofield received 3.32 inches and Punaluu had 2.21 inches. On Kauai the Kilohana gauge recorded 5.97 inches, and the one at Kapahi measured 5.40 inches.

Birchard said the front that brought inclement weather to Oahu and Kauai will move to the area between Maui and the Big Island.

Oahu and Kauai can expect a gradual return to tradewind weather as the front weakens, Birchard said.

Maui can expect weather "not very windy, but still soupy, cloudy and showery" today, he said.

The Big Island won’t see much rough weather until tomorrow, with just some increased showers on the north and east sides of the island.

Yesterday evening the only high-wind warnings that remained were for the Big Island summits and Haleakala, and those were scheduled to expire at 6 a.m. today.

Yesterday’s weather gave Oahu residents plenty to cope with:

» Schools: Ten schools in Ewa and one in Wahiawa were closed yesterday because of weather or power problems. All will be open Monday, the state Department of Education said.

Campbell High School and its feeder schools were closed yesterday, as was Hale Kula Elementary in Wahiawa. Schools that were closed in the Campbell Complex were Campbell High, Ewa Makai Middle, Ilima Intermediate and seven elementary schools: Ewa, Ewa Beach, Holomua, Iroquois Point, Kaimiloa, Keoneula and Pohakea.

» Roads: Officials reported several roads, primarily in the Ewa area, being closed because of down trees or power lines. Among those affected were Fort Weaver Road, Old Fort Weaver Road in Ewa and Franklin D. Roosevelt Avenue, Fort Barrette Road, Kamaaha Avenue, Kumuiki Street and Kapolei Parkway in Kapolei.

Also affected were Nehoa Street in Makiki and Pali Highway on the Windward side just below the tunnels.

» Sports: Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex will remain closed today because of storm-related damage. The West Loch and Ted Makalena golf courses will be open as weather permits, the city said. West Loch was closed yesterday, and Makalena was limited to nine-hole play.

Yesterday’s opening games of the Bank of Hawaii Invitational softball tournament at the University of Hawaii were rescheduled to tomorrow because of rain.

» TV: KHNL-TV and KFVE-TV were off the air for more than six hours when their transmitters "tripped" at about 3:45 a.m., the KFVE website said.

KHNL was back on before 10 a.m., and KFVE returned before noon. Oceanic Time Warner Cable customers were also affected because Oceanic picks up the stations’ over-the-air signals.

» Kauai: Maluhia Road was closed briefly yesterday morning by a large tree branch. A brief electrical failure was reported Thursday night in Hanapepe, as was minor flooding along Kalani Kau Mauka road in Koloa.

Star-Advertiser reporters Gregg K. Kakesako, Gordon Y.K. Pang and Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.


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