High wind warning in effect for Hawaii starting Sunday
  • Friday, April 19, 2019
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High wind warning in effect for Hawaii starting Sunday

  • Video by Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com

    A big tree toppled onto moving cars Saturday morning.

  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A tree blocks the road on Bethel Street.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Honolulu police work to clear a fallen tree on Bethel Street in downtown Honolulu after a tree toppled onto a car.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Management director Hirokazu “Hiro” Toiya spoke at a press conference at the Frank F. Fasi Muncipal Building on Friday to discuss the possibility of severe weather this weekend.

UPDATE

9:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service canceled its severe thunderstorm warning for Kauai tonight.

“The storm which prompted the warning has weakened below severe limits and no longer poses an immediate threat to life or property,” the National Weather Service reported.

A high wind warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Sunday to late Sunday night for the entire state. The National Weather Service said the strongest winds are expected during the daytime Sunday. A high wind warning means that winds are expected to be at least 40 mph with gusts over 60 mph.

9 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 10 p.m. tonight for Kauai. The National Weather Service said a shower was located over Barking Sands at 8:58 p.m. and is moving southest at 40 mph. Winds are clocked at 60 mph.

4 p.m.

A statewide high wind warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Sunday through late Sunday night. The National Weather Service said winds will be 20 to 40 mph with localized gusts up to 60 mph.

“Winds will be strongest over and downslope from higher terrain, and where most efficiently funneled around the terrain and through valleys,” the National Weather Service reports.

Winds this strong can make driving hazardous and cause damage to roofs and poorly built structures. Winds can cause flying debris, downed trees and power lines, and power outages.

3:45 p.m.

The nortbound lane of Waimano Home Road is blocked at Noelani Street due to a fallen tree in Pearl City. The Department of Transportation said a contraflow lane is open in the southbound lanes. Drivers are asked to proceed with caution through the area.

2 p.m.

Two cars have been cleared out from under the tree that fell on Bethel Street earlier today. Crews are working on getting the tree trunk off the roof of the last car, a gray Volvo SUV.

One of the affected car owners said he had his driver’s window down while driving slowly when he heard a rumble and saw the tree swaying back and forth. He tried to accelerate to move away from it but the tree fell quickly.

Police officials on the scene say no one was injured and they expect the tree to be cleared out within the next few hours.

1:41 p.m.

Traffic is being rerouted to a dirt road in Wahiawa due to a swaying utility pole blocking Whitmore Avenue at Uakanikoo Street, according to a news alert.

12:03 p.m.

Hawaiian Electric Co. crews have restored power to 722 customers in the downtown Honolulu, Iwilei, Kalihi, Liliha and Palama area following a power outage earlier this morning.

The cause of the power outage is under investigation.

10:50 a.m.

Strong winds toppled a big tree onto moving cars this morning in downtown Honolulu, blocking all two lanes of Bethel Street in front of Chinatown Gateway Plaza near Walmart.

Traffic is being diverted to Bethel and King Street, while Honolulu police work to clear the roadway near the intersection of Bethel and Hotel streets.

A high-wind advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. this evening, while a high-wind watch continues from 6 p.m. this evening through 6 a.m. Monday when stronger west winds are predicted to develop.

No injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian Electric Co. reported a power outage for 722 customers in the downtown Honolulu, Iwilei, Kalihi, Liliha and Palama area at 10:48 a.m. today. Crews are working to restore power to area residents.

7:46 a.m.

Honolulu emergency officials urged Hawaii residents and visitors to stay away from the shoreline this weekend as a storm traveling north of the Hawaiian islands could bring large, destructive surf and damaging winds.

The storm system is expected to mostly impact the North Shore of the Hawaiian isles with waves up to 60 feet and wind gusts over 50 mph, but the Windward and South coasts might even see the effects. On Oahu, Sandy’s Beach, Diamond Head and Makapuu Tidepools might be hit with wave runoff, Honolulu emergency officials said.

“No matter where you are on the beaches and on the shorelines, there is a potential for unusually high wave runoff,” said Jim Howe, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, at a Friday press conference. “So please, if it’s wet, don’t go out on those ledges.”

“Unsettled weather may persist into the middle of next week as the low lingers to the northeast of the islands,” said forecasters from the National Weather Service in Honolulu, which issued multiple warnings and advisories.

The weather-service bulletins include:

>> Extreme surf and surges: A high-surf warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Monday with waves up to 25 to 35 feet today, then 40 to 60 feet Sunday along the north- and west-facing shores of Niihau and Kauai, and north-facing shores of Oahu, Maui and Molokai. The surf is expected to increase to 18 to 25 feet today and climb to 30 to 40 feet Sunday along the west-facing shores of Oahu and Molokai.

Weather forecasters called the impacts “extreme” with ocean water expected to surge and sweep “over beaches, coastal benches, lava flows, and roadways, creating the potential for significant damage to coastal properties and infrastructure, including roadways.”

The National Weather Service warned of “exceptional large seas” from the north and northwest, which may bring “extreme harbor surges” to the north- and west-facing harbors such as Kauai’s Hanalei Harbor, Maui’s Kahului Harbor along with Oahu’s Haleiwa and Waianae Harbors through Sunday.

The high surf may even lead to possible road closures and evacuations from coastal areas.

Honolulu Department of Emergency Management director Hirokazu “Hiro” Toiya urged Hawaii residents and visitors to remain vigilant.

“Pay attention to your surroundings and to the wave conditions,” Toiya said Friday at a press conference. “And make plans to evacuate your home if you have to. We hope you don’t need to, but be prepared to do that if the need comes.”

The breaking waves may cause damage to piers, ramps, docks and boats.

“This event may bring unprecedented coastal flooding to north and west facing shores from later today through Sunday, so anyone with vulnerable ocean front property needs to complete their preparations for this event as soon as possible,” according to the warning.

>> Hazardous winds: A high-wind advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. this evening, while a high-wind watch continues from 6 p.m. this evening through 6 a.m. Monday when stronger west winds are predicted to develop.

Forecasters are predicting northwest winds of up to 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. The winds are expected to decrease slightly this afternoon then grow stronger out of the west tonight through Sunday night with wind speeds of 20 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

“Winds will be strongest over and downslope from higher terrain, and where most efficiently funneled around the terrain and through valleys,” the forecast said.

Drivers are urged to use extra caution since the strong winds may result in minor structural damage to “poorly built structures” and downed power lines.

“What to do if a power line were to come down directly onto your vehicle?” Toiya said. “We urge folks to stay calm and pull over safely and call 911. Help is going to come and let the professionals handle it.”

>> Gale-force winds: A gale warning is in effect for the waters around Kauai County. A gale watch and small-craft advisory are in effect for Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii island.

North to northwest winds of 25 to 30 knots are expected today. The winds will move west to northwest possibly increasing to 35 knots starting tonight. Forecasters predict seas of 19 to 24 feet.

The small-craft advisory urged inexperienced mariners to avoid navigating their smaller boats in such hazardous conditions. “A gale watch is issued when the risk of gale force winds of 34 to 47 knots has significantly increased, but the specific timing and/or location is still uncertain,” the advisory said. The gale watch indicated mariners may wish to consider altering their plans.

The gale watch remains in effect from this evening through Sunday afternoon, while the small-craft advisory will remain in effect until 6 p.m. today.

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