WAILUKU >> Skies over much of Maui began clearing by mid-afternoon after residents spent the earlier part of today in anxious anticipation of damaging wind, rain and ocean surges from Hurricane Douglas.
But other than a stubborn band of dense rain clouds that hugged the eastern side of island for most of the day and some occasional strong gusts, the storm pretty much spared Maui, as it had Hawaii island earlier Sunday.
Mayor Michael Victorino said there were no reports of serious damage.
The American Red Cross reported that only 15 people had checked in by midnight Saturday at shelters opened at the South Maui gym, King Kekaulike High School in Pukalani, Hana High & Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Maui High School in Kahului.
Civil defense sirens sounded at 8:30 a.m. today to remind residents to get off the roads and hunker down at home as Hurricane Douglas approached closer to the island. But by then, the strongest winds had already occurred, with gusts of up to 64 mph in Kula and 38 mph at Kahului Airport between 5 and 6 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
The Upcountry area also absorbed the most rainfall during the 12-hour period ending at 3:45 p.m. today, with the exception of Puu Kukui in West Maui, one of the wettest spots in the islands, which collected nearly 5 inches, according to NWS data. The Pukalani gauge measured 1.9 inches of rain and Kula, 1.7 inches. Rainfall in Kahului totaled barely a quarter-inch.
Despite the dire threat to East Maui, which was expected to be hardest-hit by Douglas, Hana came through just fine compared to previous storms, said 40-year resident Dawn Lono. The area saw a little more than an inch of rain over the 12-hour period.
“We had a couple of scary moments when it got a little bit windy and the rain started, but it dissipated and I’m looking at blue skies,” Lono said at 4 p.m. today. “That was nothing compared to what we get sometimes; this was a blip. And our power stayed on. But we were ready and I feel really good about that. As a family we were ready and as a community we were ready.”
Surf spots at Kahului Harbor and Waiehu were jammed with vehicles as onlookers, surfers and bodyboarders took advantage of the off-season storm swells.
Kiana Kanoa, 22, of Waiehu, sat in a beach chair on the rocks at Kahului Harbor taking photos of her boyfriend, Noa Auweloa, 22, as he surfed with about two dozen others.
“It was a little scary this morning with the storm coming but then we checked the waves and he wanted to surf,” Kanoa said.
Earlier in the day, tree branches falling on power lines caused brief outages to about 3,000 customers in Wailuku and Kahului and about 20 customers in Iao Valley, according to Hawaiian Electric Co. spokesman Scott Seu.
Smaller pockets of outages were reported Upcountry.
Victorino said the county landfill and recycling centers would be closed Monday, as would county parks, pools and the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course. Residential trash pickup for Monday also was canceled, and the Expeditions ferry service between Lahaina and Lanai was suspended at least through Monday.