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Parks, public schools remain closed after Madeline’s passage

  • CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER

    This graphic shows the projected path and intensity of Hurricane Madeline as of 11 a.m.

  • NOAA / NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

    This composite satellite image shows Tropical Storm Madeline south of Hawaii and approaching Hurricane Lester.

» View Hurricane Lester’s track

Update 12:30 p.m.

A tropical storm left parts of Hawaii’s Big Island soggy but intact today as residents of the island state prepared for a second round of potentially volatile tropical weather.

Hawaii Island was pummeled with heavy rains and powerful waves overnight, but residents woke to blue skies and little damage after Madeline skirted the island. Hurricane Lester remains on track to impact the islands this weekend, but possibly after being downgraded to a tropical storm.

“So, really grateful for this respite today. I saw the sun this morning when I was driving into work,” Kanani Aton, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii County civil defense agency, said today.

The National Weather Service dropped the tropical storm warning and flash flood watch for Madeline today.

“It has passed south of our island,” Aton said.

Several roads and a bridge that were closed because of flooding have reopened, she said. All county and state facilities, including bus and solid waste service, were to resume today.

Parks will not reopen until damage assessment teams have a chance to investigate, Aton said. At one park, water has receded after waves crashed into a seawall that surrounds Liliuokalani Gardens Park at Hilo Bay. Water had accumulated on the grass of the gardens, leaving stairs of a pavilion partially submerged.

A brown water advisory is posted for the island. The Department of Health said people should stay out of waters with storm runoff, because of possible overflowing cesspools, sewer manholds, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals, and flood debris.

“If the water is brown, stay out,” the Health Department said.

County amage assessment teams are going to targeted areas, such as places prone to flooding, Aton said.

Public schools remained closed today, but will reopen Friday. Several had been used as shelters.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopened today, but some areas including campgrounds, Chain of Craters Road and the lava viewing area remained closed until Hurricane Lester has passed.

The Coast Guard also reopened all ports on Hawaii island and cargo operations resumed.

On Maui, Maui Electric crews restored power to about 7,817 customers in the upcountry and Napili areas. The largest outage happened at about 10:18 a.m., when about 6,394 customers from Makawao to Hana lost electricity. Most customers were restoredwithin a half hour. This morning, about 1,398 customers in the Napili area lost service at 4:12 a.m. after tree fronds fell on electrical lines. Power was restored by about 6 a.m., Maui Electric said in a news release.

——

The Associated Press contributed to this update.

Update 11:15 a.m.

Tropical Storm Madeline continued to weaken this morning.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, the storm continued moving away from the islands, moving west at 13 mph. The center of Madeline was located about 330 miles south of Honolulu.

Forecasters expect Madeline to continue weakening over the next 48 hours while continuing along the same track.

A wind advisory is posted until 6 p.m. because of strong tradewinds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts of 50 mph. The winds are related to Madeline’s passage south of the islands.

Previous coverage

A last-minute turn to the south kept the worst rains and winds from Tropical Storm Madeline offshore of the Big Island, but the storm still soaked the east end of the island, closing roads and causing some flooding overnight.

At 5 a.m., Madeline was 120 miles south-southwest of South Point and 325 miles south of Honolulu, moving west at 14 mph. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the center.

Wind shear is weakening the storm. Winds decreased to 50 mph and the storm is expected to become a tropical depression by Friday and a remnant low this weekend as it moves away from Hawaii.

A wind advisory is in effect across the state as the storm generates strong tradewinds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to 50 mph through 6 p.m.

The winds could cause loose objects to move around, make driving difficult and blow tree branches into power lines, causing power outages.

A flash flood watch for Hawaii County is canceled.

Public schools on the Big Island remain closed today, but other government offices and most businesses that closed Wednesday are scheduled to reopen today.

Civil Defense teams will be going out today across the islands to assess the damage from Madeline.

Emergency officials are also preparing for the possible arrival of Hurricane Lester.

Madeline flooded roads Wednesday night, closing Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo between Manono and Ponahawai streets, Lihiwai Street through Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo and East Kawailani Street below Kanoelehua Avenue.

Officials said that with the ground already saturated from Madeline, any heavy rain from Lester could cause flooding.

In the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m., Saddle Quarry recorded 8.7 inches of rain; nearly 5.9 inches fell at Waiakea Uka and 7.5 inches fell at Kulani.

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