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Strong winds cause ocean rescues, down power lines, trees

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / MAY 22, 2015

    Mokulua North island is seen off Lanikai Beach.

Rough seas off normally placid Lanikai Beach kept lifeguards busy Tuesday afternoon as strong winds that are expected to last through today arrived.

The winds had firefighters responding to downed power lines and trees this evening.

The National Weather Service said a fast-moving cold front was passing over the island chain, moving over Maui and Hawaii island tonight. Cool and gusty winds were following behind the front and over the state.

Local windy conditions with strong gusts over and downwind of high terrain are expected across the islands, the Weather Service said.

At Lanikai Beach, a lifeguard on a rescue watercraft helped 13 people get to shore safely in “blustery and rainy” conditions between the beach and the Mokulua islands, Shayne Enright, a spokeswoman for the Ocean Safety Division said.

About 2:30 p.m., a kayaker called 911 call because he couldn’t get to shore, Enright said. The lifeguard brought the man and two other kayakers to shore.

Then the lifeguard went back out to rescue three women stand-up paddlers. Two of the women were in the water and unable to get back on their boards, Enright said.

As weather conditions worsened, lifeguards brought in seven more kayakers from the Mokulua Islands as a precaution.

Elsewhere on the east shore, lifeguards rescued 11 people in the Sandy Beach and Makapuu areas and issued 465 warnings.

Lifeguards were also busy on the south shore, where there is a small south swell of 3 to 6 feet. Lifeguards in Waikiki beach towers rescued five people, while other lifeguards using rescue watercraft rescued 8 people.

Lifeguards also warned 641 people about the surf and wind conditions on the south shore.

The winds also kept Honolulu firefighters busy.

Fire Capt. David Jenkins said firefighters responded across Oahu to three downed trees, three downed power lines, and a blown roof between 3:15 and 7 p.m. Tuesday.

One person sustained minor injuries in a blown roof incident at Koko Head Shooting Range about 4:50 p.m. The caller said the person was taken to a hospital by private vehicle, and Jenkins didn’t have information on how the person was hurt.

About 6:30 p.m., firefighters responded to a fallen tree in Waipahu and found a tree two feet in diameter and 30 to 40 feet long blocking the road near Anonui and Anoiki streets, Jenkins said. Firefighters were working to move the tree.

Other downed trees were reported near Waianae Elementary School, which knocked down a power line, and Waianae Baptist Church. Firefighters also responded to Hawaii Kai, Ewa Beach, and Kaneohe for wind-related incidents.

Downed trees were reported at Anonui and Anoiki streets in Kunia and Waialae Iki Neighborhood Park on Kalanianaole Highway. Also, the city reported that a tree more than 30 feet tall was cracked and hanging over the street on Lakeview Circle in the Wahiawa area.

The Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea until 6 p.m. today. The advisory warned of 50 to 60 mph winds with gusts to 75 mph above the 8,000-foot level on the mountains.

A gale warning is now in effect for the waters between Maui and Hawaii island and scheduled to go into effect for the east side of the Big Island at 6 p.m. today. Both are scheduled through 6 p.m. Thursday, the Weather Service said.

The warning forecast 25- to 35-knot winds with higher gusts and seas of 7 to 12 feet beginning this morning.

A high surf advisory was also in effect for north and west shores of Oahu, Maui and Molokai. Surf was forecast to be 12 to 18 feet on the North Shore and 8 to 12 feet off the Waianae Coast.

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  • Local people must know not to go out in these conditions so was most likely tourists. Charge them and the rental company for any expenses. Rental operators risking lives for a few bucks.

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