State of emergency has been declared in Hawaii as dangerous islands for storm socks

0

HONOLULU (AP) – From the deserted shores of Waikiki Beach in Oahu to the snow-capped peak of the Big Island’s highest peak, an unusually strong winter storm is hitting the Hawaiian Islands and increasing the threat of dangerous flash floods, landslides and of crashing tree branches.

The strong storm in the country’s only island state has left couples on the run without marriage and tourists trapped inside. He also threatened the state’s infrastructure with a deluge of rain and wind.

Five boys aged 9 to 10 were rescued from a raging stream by the Honolulu firefighters, according to an agency statement.

Weather officials have warned slow thunderstorms, high winds and heavy rain could persist until Wednesday and Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency for all of the state’s islands on Monday evening.

Veterans and survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack 80 years ago were planning to meet for the anniversary celebration Tuesday morning in Pearl Harbor. Navy spokeswoman Brenda Way told The Associated Press in an email Monday that she had not heard of any discussions about the event being canceled due to the storms.

The National Weather Service said the storm threatened “catastrophic flooding” in the coming days as a low slowly moves east to west and lingers at the edge of the archipelago. The storm cut power to communities in Hawaii and the worst rain had just arrived Monday night on the state’s most populous island, Oahu.

“Now is the time to make sure you have a contingency plan in place and supplies ready if you need to step away from the rising waters,” Ige said in a statement.

In Oahu, where four shelters had been opened, most Waikiki beaches were empty on Monday as only a few people walked with umbrellas during heavy downpours. Roads were flooded in the area and cars crept into the city center as water gushed out of manhole covers.

In Maui, power outages and flooding have already been reported, with more than a foot (30 centimeters) of rain falling in some areas.

The relentless rain has forced three mainland couples to postpone their escape to Maui, said Nicole Bonanno, owner of Bella Bloom Floral, a florist and bridal boutique in Wailea.

The weather has also resulted in delayed flower deliveries, a lei business without power, and workers braving flooded roads littered with debris, Bonanno said.

“The roads, everything is messy,” she said. “There are a lot of trees down there.”

Maui resident Jimmy Gomes was waiting for the lights to return to his home on Monday after a power outage at 6 p.m. Sunday. His rain gauge measured 7 inches (17.78 centimeters): “I had not seen this kind of rain for a long time,” he said.

“Last night the wind was howling,” he said. “But this morning it was really foggy and it rained, then it stopped.”

Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth declared a state of emergency on Sunday due to potentially heavy rains and strong winds.

Some areas south of Hilo were hit hard by extremely heavy rains over the weekend, weather officials said.

All of the islands are still at risk of flash flooding, lightning strikes, landslides and strong winds over the next two days, according to the National Weather Service.

Oahu and Kauai could take the brunt of the storm on Monday and Tuesday. But for Maui and the Big Island, which have already been soaked, “it won’t take a lot of extra rain to really cause big problems,” said Robert Ballard, meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The winter weather system known as the “Kona Downs” triggered emergency alerts throughout the weekend while providing wind, rain and even blizzard conditions at some of the highest elevations in Hawaii.

A weekend blizzard warning has been issued for the state’s highest peak, on the Big Island.

Snow is not uncommon at the top of Mauna Kea, which rises to nearly 4,270 meters. The last time there was a blizzard warning for the summit was in 2018. No residents live at the summit, but there are telescope observatories and other offices staffed by officials.

The weather service said there had been reports of 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow on the road below the summit of Mauna Kea, and officials were working to get to the summit to get more measurements. The forecast was a foot of snow at the top of the mountain.

There were also strong winds, with gusts of nearly 90 mph (138 km / h) recorded atop Mauna Kea.

Other lower elevation areas also saw strong winds, with gusts exceeding 80 km / h (80 km / h) recorded at several locations across the state, according to weather officials.

The Kona Depression is a type of low pressure system that forms near Hawaii during the winter season and has unique weather characteristics, said Ballard, science and operations manager for the National Weather Service in Hawaii.

“What we tend to see is that a tremendous amount of tropical moisture is coming from equatorial regions. Kona lows tend to move slowly and so they can keep heavy rains and thunderstorms focused on one. area for an extended period of time, and they can also cause fairly strong or even destructive winds, ”Ballard said.

Hawaii has aging dams statewide that have been problematic in previous storms. In 2006, a mud wall at Kauai’s Kaloko Reservoir collapsed during heavy rains and sent a wave of water and mud rolling down a hill. Seven people, including a pregnant woman, were killed.

Rains in March raised fears that a dam broke in Maui when floodwaters destroyed homes and flooded roads. The same storm system caused devastating flooding in Oahu and a landslide in Kauai.

Ballard said other state and federal agencies monitor the dams, but these are the conditions people need to be careful about.

“It’s just a situation that we have to continue to monitor and know about and make sure people understand that this is the type of situation where we can have flash floods that happen very, very suddenly,” said Ballard.

Share.

Comments are closed.