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WEATHER BLOG: Most of downtown Honolulu to have power restored tonight; Kauai County still under flood watch

  • VIDEO BY CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Pearl City Highlands Elementary School officials are in the process of cleaning up and disinfecting classrooms after the school was flooded due to heavy rain and wind that battered Oahu on Monday.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Two Keawe and one palm tree fell over at the entrance of Kalani High School, along Kalanianaole Highway at Kalaniiki Street, due to torrential rain this morning. A portion of the Kalani High School lava rock sign was damaged due to the impact of one of the trees hitting it. State facilities workers are cleaning up the debris.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Two Keawe and one palm tree fell over at the entrance of Kalani High School, along Kalanianaole Highway at Kalaniiki Street, due to torrential rain this morning. A portion of the Kalani High School lava rock sign was damaged due to the impact of one of the trees hitting it. State facilities workers are cleaning up the debris.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
State-contracted workers cut and shred a large Keawe tree which toppled over at 6:50 p.m.Monday night due to heavy rains at Farrington High School in Kalihi.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM State-contracted workers cut and shred a large Keawe tree which toppled over at 6:50 p.m.Monday night due to heavy rains at Farrington High School in Kalihi.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Pearl City Highlands Elementary School experienced a flash flood at around 1:30 p.m. on Monday. “At 1:24 there was no standing water and by 1:38 there was water running through the classrooms,” said principal Zachary Sheets

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Pearl City Highlands Elementary School experienced a flash flood at around 1:30 p.m. on Monday. “At 1:24 there was no standing water and by 1:38 there was water running through the classrooms,” said principal Zachary Sheets

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                A pedestrian crossed flooded Dillingham Boulevard, Monday, in Honolulu. The flash flood warning for Oahu has expired but the island and Kauai County remain under a flood watch through this afternoon.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A pedestrian crossed flooded Dillingham Boulevard, Monday, in Honolulu. The flash flood warning for Oahu has expired but the island and Kauai County remain under a flood watch through this afternoon.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                A pedestrian crossed flooded Dillingham Boulevard, Monday, in Honolulu. The flash flood warning for Oahu has expired but the island and Kauai County remain under a flood watch through this afternoon.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A pedestrian crossed flooded Dillingham Boulevard, Monday, in Honolulu. The flash flood warning for Oahu has expired but the island and Kauai County remain under a flood watch through this afternoon.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Flood water fell from the H-1 viaduct onto Nimitz Highway, Monday, in Honolulu. The flash flood warning for Oahu has expired but the island and Kauai County remain under a flood watch through this afternoon.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Flood water fell from the H-1 viaduct onto Nimitz Highway, Monday, in Honolulu. The flash flood warning for Oahu has expired but the island and Kauai County remain under a flood watch through this afternoon.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Skies were overcast on Oahu Sunday as showers began moving over urban Honolulu.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Skies were overcast on Oahu Sunday as showers began moving over urban Honolulu.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Pedestrians were reflected in floodwaters on Oahu Monday. Heavy rain and high winds pounded much of the state due to the lingering Kona low system south of the islands.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Pedestrians were reflected in floodwaters on Oahu Monday. Heavy rain and high winds pounded much of the state due to the lingering Kona low system south of the islands.

  • COURTESY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
                                A radar image from early Monday afternoon showed a powerful line of showers moving over Oahu from the south.

    COURTESY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

    A radar image from early Monday afternoon showed a powerful line of showers moving over Oahu from the south.

  • COURTESY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
                                A powerful “Kona low” storm moved west over the Hawaiian islands, bringing abundant rain from the south over Maui County and Oahu early Monday.

    COURTESY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

    A powerful “Kona low” storm moved west over the Hawaiian islands, bringing abundant rain from the south over Maui County and Oahu early Monday.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story will be updated throughout the day. Bookmark this page and check back for updates.

———

UPDATE 7:30 p.m.

The availability of emergency shelters around the state has changed in response to the weather conditions in Hawaii.

The American Red Cross has closed all but one emergency shelter on Oahu, and also has an open shelter on Hawaii island.

Kalakaua District Park, Sunset Beach Recreation Area and Kailua District Park were opened because of the high amounts of rain, but were closed because “with no population.”

The Makaha Community Park will stay open overnight for those in need. Hawaii island’s Keeau Armory shelter will stay open as well.

The Salvation Army, Maui County and other state Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster partners opened a resiliency hub in Kula for those affected by flooding and utility outages. The hub, at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, will be open on Wednesday from 1 to 7p.m. and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The agencies are distributing food boxes and bottled water, and free Wi-Fi is available.

The Salvation Army is also requesting donations to help fund relief supplies and efforts around the state.

UPDATE: 6 p.m.

All state public schools will be open Wednesday with the exception of Farrington High School and Kula Elementary School.

Farrington will remain closed to students as crews work to remove a large kiawe tree that fell on campus Monday night. Faculty and staff will report to campus.

Kula will remain closed due to repairs to water lines in Upcountry Maui.

Pearl City Highlands Elementary School will reopen Wednesday. Twelve of the school’s classrooms were impacted by Monday’s flooding on campus. Eight classrooms (four kindergarten, two first grade and two special education classes) require additional work before students and staff can return. Those eight classes will be transitioning to distance learning. All other classes will return to campus.

Power has been restored to Red Hill Elementary School and it will reopen Wednesday.

>> PHOTOS: Oahu residents assess damages from heavy rainfall, flooding

5:50 p.m.

Hawaiian Electric expects to restore power to about 70% of its customers in downtown Honolulu tonight.

The utility said repairs to the second of three transformers at the Iwilei substation were completed sooner than anticipated and power to about a dozen office buildings is expected to be restored tonight.

5:17 p.m.

A portion of Round Top Drive near 4120 Round Top Drive has been closed to traffic after a landslide took out a chunk of the roadway.

“For public safety, this portion of Round Top Drive will remain closed for an extended period until the road is repaired. Drivers are advised to avoid the area until a detour travelway is established,” according to a statement from the city Department of Design and Construction Department.

Meanwhile, many traffic signals are out of order in downtown Honolulu including along King and Beretania streets and Nimitz Highway, according to the Honolulu Police Department.

In a tweet, HPD advises drivers to slow down and approach the blinking traffic signals as a four-way stop intersection or follow the directions of the officers if there are any directing traffic.

4:10 p.m.

Ongoing inclement weather in Hawaii has prompted extended flood watches and small craft advisories across the state.

A flood watch for Kauai and Niihau is in effect through 6 a.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported. A flood watch for Oahu has expired.

The flood watch is in effect because flashing flooding caused by excessive rainfall is still possible in the area, according to the NWS. Heavy rainfall is possible over Kauai County tonight as a weakening kona low “pulls deep tropical moisture over the western end of the island chain.”

“Flood prone roads and other low lying areas may be closed due to elevated runoff and overflowing streams,” according to forecasters. “Urban areas may receive more significant flooding and property damage due to rapid runoff.”

NWS said that conditions are favorable for flash flooding during flood watches. Flash flooding is life-threatening, and the NWS advised the public not to cross fast-flowing water by vehicle or foot. Those experiencing heavy rain or rising water are being advised to head to higher ground immediately.

Small craft advisories around the state are now in effect into Wednesday and Thursday, and the NWS is advising inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, to avoid navigating in the water because conditions are “hazardous to small craft.”

An advisory for the southeast and windward waters in Hawaii island, windward waters in Maui County, Maalaea Bay, Pailolo channel and Alenuihaha channel is in effect until 6 p.m. on Thursday. For most of these locations, southeast to east winds are 15-30 knots, with seas 8-10 feet. For Hawaii island’s southeast waters, east winds are 15-25 knots.

A small craft advisory is also in effect for the northwest, windward and leeward waters of Kauai, Kauai channel, windward and leeward waters of Oahu, Kaiwi channel, and the leeward waters of Maui County. The advisory for these locations is in effect until 6 p.m. on Wednesday for southeast to east winds 15-30 knots, and seas up to 10 feet.

3:30 p.m.

As crew members of Hawaiian Electric continue repairs, power to most of downtown Honolulu is expected to be fully restored Wednesday morning, the utility company said.

Much of downtown Honolulu is likely to remain without power tonight due to high-voltage cables damaged by the flooding.

More than 50 crew members are working around the clock to repair damaged equipment at the flooded Iwilei substation and numerous underground vaults containing the cables.

After crews pumped out waters out of some of the underground vaults, they found about 300 feet of high-voltage cable damaged by the flooding, Hawaiian Electric said.

Once repairs are completed, the utility will need to test the equipment before power is restored.

In a news release, Jim Alberts, senior vice president of operations, said, “It’s possible some customers may be restored this evening, but it’s looking like the bulk of the area affected by this extraordinary weather event will not come back online until tomorrow. We want residents and business owners to have this information so they can plan ahead.”

One of the customers affected by the outage is KBFD-TV which went off the air last night but was back on the by mid-afternoon today, according to station president Jeff Chung.

10:35 a.m.

The Honolulu Fire Department responded to 90 storm-related calls from 6 a.m. Monday to 6 a.m. today as heavy rains from the Kona low system pummeled Oahu.

Of the 90 calls, firefighters responded to 55 flooded homes, 7 downed trees, 7 electrical shorts, 6 downed power lines, 4 blown roofs, 4 arcing wires, 3 swift-water rescues, 2 rescues from vehicles stuck in high water and 2 landslides.

City workers are also busy clearing affected roads from mud and debris from the storm. Workers are currently working to clear a landslide in the area of Round Top Drive.

Crews are also working to remove rocks on the Beach Road in the Diamond Head area.

Impacts from the storm also prompted Circuit Court, Honolulu District Court and Appellate Courts to close today. All other state courts remain open.

The Hawaii State Judiciary said hearings or trials canceled today will be rescheduled to the next available date.

All affected state courthouses are expected to reopen Wednesday.

9:35 a.m.

Hawaiian Electric crew members are continuing to work on repairs this morning to fully restore power to downtown Honolulu.

Spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan said they are aiming to restore power by the end of the day.

Crew members worked throughout the night to restore service to six buildings in downtown — the State Capitol, State District Court, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, City Municipal Building and the State Office Building — after they repaired one of three transformers impacted by the storm.

Workers are currently pumping out water in vaults that house the two other transformers before they can tackle repairs. Heavy rains from the storm Monday night impacted the transformers at the Iwilei substation.

The rain combined with the high tide that peaked shortly after 7 a.m. today are hampering repair efforts.

“It’s really just trying to battle the elements at this point,” Tangonan said. “It’s difficult. It’s really delaying our work to get everybody restored.”

Meanwhile, police officers are conducting traffic control at intersections in downtown as the outage also impacted the traffic lights in the area. Motorists are advised to exercise caution.

7:25 a.m

One lane on Farrington Highway at Makua Cave in Leeward Oahu is open to motorists as crews continue to clear mud from a landslide, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Crews will continue working in the area throughout the day.

The transportation department advised the public to check your routes via Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze for any road closures before heading out.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

The flash flood warning for Oahu has expired but the island and Kauai County remain under a flood watch through this afternoon.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu says flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall remains possible on Kauai, Niihau and Oahu.

“Rain events of this size can cause catastrophic flooding and affect areas that do not usually flood,” the weather service says. “Low spots in roads will become dangerous and impassable due to severe runoff. Debris in streams and gulches may clog bridges and culverts resulting in dangerous flooding. Numerous landslides are expected in areas with steep terrain. Additional heavy rainfall on Oahu could cause severe flooding impacts, as six to ten inches of rain has fallen over the entire island since Monday.”

Forecasters say heavy rain will continue across Oahu and Kauai County as a Kona low pulls deep tropical moisture over the western end of the island chain, bringing the threat of heavy rain and a few thunderstorms with gusty winds.

The forecast for the entire state calls for the Kona low northwest of the islands to drift away from the area on Wednesday.

“A drier airmass moving in from the east has begun to reach the Big Island and Maui, but a few heavy showers are possible over Maui County this morning. A breezy and drier trade wind weather pattern will spread over all islands by Thursday, continuing into the weekend,” the weather service said.

A landslide on Farrington Highway at Makua Cave on the Leeward Coast prompted the closure of the roadway as the storm continues to wreak havoc in Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

The affected portion of the highway is closed as crew members continue to work to clear thick mud.

Meanwhile, a large tree is blocking Kapaa Quarry Road in Kailua.

The Honolulu Fire Department remained busy Monday night with downed trees and power lines, rescues from rapid stream waters and flooded homes.

At about 7:20 p.m., firefighters rescued a woman trapped in a room of her home in Pearl City after a wall collapsed from floodwaters surrounding the residence.

School closures on Oahu include Pearl City Highlands Elementary Farrington High and Red Hill Elementary, the state Department of Education announced in a tweet this morning.

As of 7 a.m. Hawaiian Electric said that power had been restored to the following buildings in downtown Honolulu: the State Capitol, State District Court, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, City Municipal Building and the State Office Building. Crews continue to work on repairs, HECO said.

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