KAILUA-KONA — Some county services were knocked off line after a severe winter storm pounded areas of North Hawaii over the weekend.
A fiber line was carried on one of several poles Hawaii Electric Light Co. crews worked to replace on Monday after it was damaged by gusty winds and fallen trees Sunday. The loss of the Spectrum Communications line resulted in Monday’s closure of the Vehicle Registration and Driver’s license Services in Waimea and the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona.
“It was breezy all week, but the big winds never really started till Sunday late afternoon, early evening,” said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.
By Sunday morning, Magno said, approximately 45,000 HELCO customers experienced some interruption. As of Monday evening, 640 customers in portions of Honokaa and Waipunahina were without power.
In some areas, repairs were delayed by hazardous weather conditions and inaccessibility, according to HELCO.
While damage was primarily isolated to Honokaa, West Hawaii didn’t come away unscathed. Kona was under wind and high surf advisories over the weekend.
Magno said there was some erosion reported on the shoreline, but no damage.
“For the most part, we were fortunate that we didn’t get the huge swells that the northern islands did,” he said.
No significant injuries occurred in this event, Magno added.
The Hawaii Fire Department also responded to a downed power line, which caused a fire Sunday on Loloa Drive in Kalaoa. At approximately 11:22 a.m., high winds caused a large tree branch to fall off onto a power line in the area of 73-1000 Loloa Drive. The power line set a small wooden shed and three cars on fire, which crews extinguished.
Hawaii Police say the property owner was the only occupant at the residence when the fire started and was evacuated safely. The owner was not injured and his residence didn’t appear to have sustained fire damage.
The power line also damaged a propane gas line that was set on fire. There was no other property damage reported, according to police. HELCO was contacted for this incident and they shut off power to the area, so that the HFD could put out the fires and they sent out units to remove the tree branch.
The wind advisory was canceled Monday with the exception of the summits. The high surf advisory remained in place throughout the day, but was set to end this morning.
On Monday, businesses were feeling the affects of the choppy waters, which kept them from taking charters out for the past couple of days. Maggie Brown, president and owner of Kanoa II and Body Glove Cruises, said 10 trips were canceled.
“That’s 90 to 100 people per cruise,” Brown said. “That’s a lot of revenue.”
She added Body Glove is looking forward to getting back out on the water today.
Stephanie Smith, marketing and sales manager for Bite Me Sportfishing, said boats at Honokohau Harbor were tied up for the past couple days waiting for the weather to stop.
“It was pretty rocking and rolling out there,” she said.
Smith said the swells started to get rough on Saturday, but they’re hoping they can go out today.
“We gotta listen to Mother Nature,” she added. “We don’t mess with her when she talks.”
While the county closed all its parks during the warnings and advisories, it didn’t deter people from heading to the Old Kona Airport Park on Monday. A handful of people were scattered about the beach, just makai of the locked gate.
Paul Adelaar, 26, and his father Rudy, 68, decided to take advantage of the park’s open airstrip to enjoy a day of kite flying.
The Adelaars have been visiting from Amsterdam since December to escape the winter.
“When there’s wind we usually fly kites,” Paul Adelaar said. “There’s not usually on this side.”
But since the north winds were blowing, the father and son were in luck.
While they had originally hoped to go to Magic Sands Beach, also known as Laaloa, they happily settled for the kites.
“With north winds you get a lot of acceleration at Keahole Point,” said Matthew Foster, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Foster forecast showers in Kona for this evening with breezy conditions dropping off Wednesday night.
“The trade winds will focus the showers over the windward slopes,” Foster said.
He added temperatures will be remain cool throughout the rest of the week with a gradual warming trend. Tonight, the low is slated to 65 degrees. The high temperatures will also slowly rise with today’s high being 80.