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Pali Highway reopened after crews clear debris; Brown water advisory issued for Oahu

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Honolulu firefighters cleared the road at the on-ramp to the Pali Highway near the intersection of Kamehameha Highway after tree branches fell today.

    BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Honolulu firefighters cleared the road at the on-ramp to the Pali Highway near the intersection of Kamehameha Highway after tree branches fell today.

UPDATE:

9 p.m.

Due to heavy rains on Christmas Day, which have resulted in stormwater runoff entering into coastal waters, the Hawaii State Department of Health has issued an island-wide brown water advisory for Oahu.

The public is advised to stay out of flood waters and storm water runoff due to possible overflowing cesspools, sewer, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals, and associated flood debris.

Not all coastal areas may be impacted by runoff, the deparment said, but if the water is brown, stay out.

7:20 p.m.

Crews have cleared the road to reopen Pali Highway heading toward Kailua.

6:10 p.m.

Crews are bringing down loose debris above the second tunnel portal on Pali Highway, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said in a tweet tonight.

HDOT crews will soon remove the debris caught by the fencing and clear the road. The Pali Highway heading toward Kailua remains closed.

Hawaiian Electric crews will also be working through tonight to respond to outages reported in Hawaii Kai, Kaneohe, Makaha, Waianae, Kailua, Kalihi, and Pearl City.

“A weakening frontal band will move from west to east across the central island tonight causing a period of showery and breezy weather to occur with its passage,” the National Weather Service reported.

The front is forecast to move over Maui County tonight then stall and dissipate near Hawaii island on Thursday and Friday.

Winds are forecast to become lighter early next week as another front approaches from the west.

2:58 p.m.

A flood advisory has been extended for Oahu through 6 p.m.

At 2:45 p.m., the radar indicated heavy rain falling over Oahu at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour.

2:47 p.m.

H-1 westbound between Managers Drive overpass and the Military Access Road overpass has been reopened, according to a tweet from the Honolulu Police Department.

2:19 p.m.

Department of Transportation reporting that H-1 westbound between Managers Drive overpass and the Military Access Road overpass is closed due to multiple motor vehicle crashes.

DOT tweeted photos showing the trees and debris above the Pali Highway that caused a closure earlier today. “Our fencing caught most of it but we will be clearing the loose material to reduce potential for additional debris to come down. Ancitipating reopening Pali Hwy Kailua bound from Nuuanu this evening,” the agency said.

UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for Hawaii island summits, and a wind advisory for Oahu, Kauai and Niihau until 6 p.m. today.

Expect southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph on Kauai and Niihau through this evening.

12:50 p.m.

The flash flood warning for Kauai has been canceled, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

12:46 p.m.

State crews are currently responding to the rock slide that shut down the Kailua-bound section of the Pali Highway tunnel today.

“Our staff is onsite and we’re coordinating removal of material. Expecting to reopen Pali Highway Kailua bound from Nuuanu this evening,” according to a tweet from the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Tree branches had come down the hillside between the two tunnels and onto part of the right lane. At first, the left lane was still open, but crews then started diverting all Kailua-bound traffic.

At the intersection of the Pali and Kamehameha Highway, firefighters were removing tree debris from the town-bound on-ramp area with police directing traffic.

12:07 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Oahu until 3 p.m.

At 12:03 p.m., the radar indicated heavy rain falling over Oahu at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour.

12:03 p.m.

Police have completely shut down the Kailua-bound section of the Pali Highway tunnel starting at Pali Highway and Waokanaka Street.

Hawaii Department of Transportation officials reopened Pali Highway to traffic in both directions last weekend after several months of roadwork following a major landslide on President’s Day.

11:39 a.m.

A rock slide has been reported at the Kailua-bound section of the Pali Highway tunnel, resulting in a partial closure, according to a city news alert.

Drivers are advised to use alternate routes.

11:15 a.m.

Multiple power outages have been reported across Oahu today.

Hawaiian Electric Co. reported 54 outages and 18,450 customers without power, including 2,190 in the Waianae area, 2,231 in Maili and Nanakuli, 1,869 on the North Shore, 1,346 in the Mililani and Wahiawa areas, 611 in the Kahaluu area, 3,256 in Kailua and 1,421 from Hawaii Kai to Waimanalo.

Crews are working to restore power to customers in those areas.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said at 11 a.m. that crews have made “good progress” on restoration with roughly three quarters of the 10,000 outages experienced Tuesday night resolved.

10:17 a.m.

Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau officials are advising Kauai residents and visitors to avoid swimming in the ocean due to a brown water advisory.

Beachgoers are advised to heed all posted warnings and advisories.

“The public is advised to stay out of flood waters and storm water runoff due to possible overflowing cesspools, sewer, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals, and associated flood debris. Not all coastal areas may be impacted by runoff, however, if the water is brown stay out. Continue to practice good personal hygiene and follow-up with your primary care physician if you have any health concerns,” according to a news release.

10:08 a.m.

Kauai Department of Water issued an immediate water conservation request for residents in Hanalei, Kilauea, Eleele and Hanapepe until further notice.

Officials are urging affected residents and business owners to limit water usage to essential needs only such as drinking, cooking and sanitation purposes to avoid a water outage.

“Electrical power issues are affecting the water system’s remote sites and pump stations have not been able to replenish the water supply in the Hanalei, Kilauea, Eleele and Hanapepe storage tanks. These remote sites are inaccessible due to the inclement weather and DOW crews are working to gain access to those areas,” according to a news release.

9:39 a.m.

A flash flood warning has been extended for Kauai until 1 p.m. today.

At 9:30 a.m., Kauai Emergency Management reported Kuhio Highway continued to be closed and impassable due to flooding at the Hanalei River Bridge.

“If possible, avoid travel this morning to allow emergency responders access to flooded areas,” the warning said.

The warning may be extended if heavy rain persists.

6:30 a.m.

A wind advisory is in effect for Oahu, Kauai and Niihau through 6 p.m. today.

South winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph are expected on Oahu, especially over and downwind of mountain ranges, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

“Winds this strong are capable of downing trees and power lines and causing sporadic power outages,” the advisory said.

Meanwhile, coastal flooding across the state is possible over the next few days.

“The greatest potential for coastal flooding impacts will be around the peak high tides, which will occur between midnight and daybreak each day,” the advisory said. “These water levels combined with the potential for heavy rainfall and moderate to strong southerly winds through tonight could exacerbate flooding in these low-lying coastal areas due to poor drainage.”

The potential impacts include flooding of typically dry beaches and salt water inundation of vulnerable low-lying roads, boat ramps, docks and other coastal infrastructure. The potential for coastal flooding will decrease by the end of the upcoming weekend as the peak daily tides lower, the advisory said.

NWS extended a flash flood warning for the island of Kauai until 10 a.m. today.

At 6:45 a.m., Kauai Emergency Management reported the closure of Kuhio Highway due to flooding at the Hanalei River Bridge. The agency also reported South Fork Wailua River above flood stage.

“Heavy rain is beginning to taper off but rivers and streams remain elevated. Avoid travel in these areas through the morning hours if possible,” the warning said.

The flash flooding has resulted in multiple road closures Christmas Day, according to a news release from the Kauai Police Department:

>> Kuhio Highway in the vicinity of the Hanalei Bridge due to flooding;

>> Kuhio Highway in the vicinity of mile-marker 24 by the Hanalei refuse transfer station due to downed utility poles and wires;

>> Kuhio Highway in the vicinity of mile-marker 22 by Kalua Makua Road in Kilauea due to downed power lines across the roadway;

>> Kaumualii Highway in the vicinity of Mamo Road in Kekaha due to a downed tree blocking both lanes;

>> Waipouli Road, ½-mile from Olohena Road, due to a downed tree blocking both lanes.

Call 241-1725 for updates on road conditions and closures.

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