An unusually powerful storm battered the Hawaiian islands Tuesday, leaving thousands without power and flooding streets across the archipelago.

The dangerous weather left tourists stranded, including several who canceled wedding plans, and some of the islands’ most iconic beaches barren as the threat of dangerous flash floods, landslides and crashing tree limbs persisted. The snow also brought up to 8 inches of freshness to some of the state’s highest summits. These conditions were severe. Gov. David Ige will issue a declaration of emergency for all of the state’s islands Monday night.

Honolulu firefighters made about 90 rescues during the storm, including helping five children ages 9 and 10 in a raging creek. They also rescued an elderly woman trapped in a room by floodwaters, the fire department told Hawaii News Now.

“The entire home was later evacuated after a side wall of the house had collapsed from the flooding water around their home,” the department told the news outlet.

The storm’s severe conditions were forecast to continue throughout the day Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and strong wind gusts to the state’s most populated island of Oahu, the National Weather Service said. The storm is expected to move offshore Wednesday, allowing for dry weather the remainder of the week.

Flood watches will remain in effect for Niihau and Kauai throughout Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. Oahu’s flash flood warning has ended, and the island’s “heavy rain threat has clearly ended and nothing more than isolated to scattered showers are now expected.”

The storm, which brought at least a foot of water in some areas and allowed for forecasts of up to 100 mph wind gusts atop some of the island’s summits, knocked out power for about 4,500 people as of Tuesday morning, according to PowerOutage.us. 

A 300-foot section of underground cable in downtown Honolulu was damaged due to the flooding, and most of the area won’t have power restored until Wednesday morning, Hawaiian Electric said in a news release. 

Four shelters were opened on Oahu. Most beaches of Waikiki were closed Monday. Only a handful of people used umbrellas to protect themselves from the rains. The flooding of roads in the region caused cars to smuggle through downtown, as well as manhole water covers allowing for water to gushet out. The photos of the most populous island in the state were shared on social media. Flooded streets are littered with debris Water rising to cars’ headlights.

Declare an emergencyForecasters predict ‘catastrophic flooding’

Reports of power outages in Maui and flooding, along with rainfall exceeding a foot, were made. The southern shores of Maui recorded at least 11.28 inches.

Nicole Bonanno, the owner of Bella Bloom Floral in Wailea, stated that three married couples on the U.S. continental had to put off their Maui weddings because of relentless rain. Bonanno stated that the weather caused delays in flower delivery to a lei business without power, with employees having to brave flooded roads and debris.

“The roads, everything are a mess,” she said. “There are lots of trees down.”

Pearl Harbor will host a commemoration celebration on Tuesday for veterans and those who survived the Pearl Harbor attack 80 years ago. Brenda Way, a Navy spokesperson told The Associated Press via email Monday that no discussions have been held about canceling the event in light of storms.

Pearl Harbor is rememberedPearl Harbor “led to a different world.” A fading memory of Pearl Harbor will still be remembered 80 years later.

The unusually dangerous storm is known as a Kona low, a type of seasonal cyclone that can occasionally impact the Hawaiian Islands during the winter months. They form from winds coming from the westerly “Kona” direction and can bring heavy rains to areas that don’t typically see those conditions in other times of the year, the weather service said.

“There is the potential for up to a foot of rain to fall on Honolulu with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 40 inches possible for the south- and southwest-facing mountainsides of the islands,” AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said, noting the impacts would continue on Oahu and Kauai through much of Tuesday.

Along with the rain, the storm caused up to 90 mph wind gusts and a blizzard warning over the weekend for the state’s highest peak on the Big Island.

Snow is not rare at the summit of Mauna Kea, which is nearly 14,000 feet high, and the last blizzard warning was in 2018. The summit is not home to any residents, although there are observatories for telescopes and offices in which officials can be found.

The weather service said there were reports of 8 inches of snow on the road below the top of Mauna Kea and officials were working to get there to measure. It was predicted that snow would reach up to a foot.

The summit also recorded gusts of about 90 mph. Strong gusts were also recorded in other areas, with some reaching more than 50 miles per hour. 

Bizarre lows were also recorded, with Honolulu failing to reach 70 degrees on Saturday and Sunday — the first time all year. AccuWeather reported that 56 degree was the lowest temperature recorded in Honolulu. 

Celina Tebor from USA TODAY and The Associated Press contributed.



Source: USAToday.com

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