East Hawaii News

Gusty Winds Result in Numerous Power Outages

January 23, 2014, 12:17 PM HST
* Updated January 23, 1:56 PM
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Hawaii Electric Light Co. crews worked through the night to repair damage caused by high winds across East Hawaii Wednesday.

The utility said fallen trees and branches damaged poles and power lines in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, Mountain View, lower Puna, Hilo, Pepeekeo and further north in Hamakua.

The first damage occurred shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday when an albizia tree fell onto lines and downed a power pole in Mountain View.

Replacement of the pole forced the closing of North Kulani Road until early this morning.

At one point, gusts of more than 50 mph were recorded, said HELCO spokeswoman Kristen Okinaka.

The strongest gusts recorded by National Weather Service gauges were 43 mph at Hilo’s airport followed by 41 mph at South Point. Numerous other areas in West Hawaii saw gusts in the mid- to upper-30s.

The weather service had issued an advisory Wednesday for winds and heavy rains produced by a cold front passing across the state.

Civil Defense Agency Director Darryl Oliveira said the Hawaii Fire Department reported responding to 20 wind-related incidents from 5:20 p.m. Wednesday to 1:20 a.m. today. They included damage to power lines as well as boats breaking their moorings.

Oliveira said no injuries were reported.

According to Okinaka, areas still without power this morning included Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park and various other locations in East Hawaii.

One of the outages was caused by a tree falling onto a house on Puni Makai Street in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision.

HELCO officials were reminding the public not to touch or approach fallen or low-hanging power lines or anything with which they may be in contact, as a seemingly harmless wire may still be energized.

Customers are encouraged to call 969-6666 to report outages and downed lines.

More information and safety tips are available at the “Safety and Emergency” link at www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

***Updated 12:55 p.m.***

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