Trouble for trees and tees
It was a wet and blustery day Friday on Maui with trees down, power out and debris on the highway in parts of the island, and the first round of the marquee event of the weekend – the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua – wiped out.
The National Weather Service has posted a high-wind warning for the summit area of Haleakala and a high-wind advisory for all islands statewide. A high-surf advisory went up Friday afternoon for east-facing shores of Maui and Molokai. The wind warning and advisory are posted until 6 p.m. today, while the surf warning is effect until 6 p.m. Sunday.
A high-pressure system building north of the state is generating the windy conditions. The rain is blamed on wet trade winds. According to the National Weather Service, Puu Kukui in the West Maui Mountains received 8.78 inches of rain in a 24-hour period ending at 2 p.m. Friday. Mahinahina received 1.4 inches in the same period and Haiku received 1.39 inches.
The forecast is for more rain through the weekend with showers favoring windward and mauka areas. The breezy conditions are expected to continue today and possibly into Sunday before diminishing early next week, the National Weather Service said.
Power outages related to the high winds and trees falling on power lines affected the summit of Haleakala and the Olinda area Friday, according to Maui Electric Co.
The first outage in Olinda occurred Friday morning, said Maui Electric Co. spokeswoman Kau’i Awai-Dickson. After MECO was able to get the power restored, another tree fell on power lines in the area, causing another outage in Olinda.
As of about 4:30 p.m. Friday, MECO was still working to restore power to about 100 customers in Olinda, Awai-Dickson said.
Power was restored to the Haleakala summit at about 4 p.m. Friday, she said.
Later Friday evening, MECO reported that Makawao and Olinda bounded by Olinda and Pookela roads, Makawao Ranch Acres, Piiholo, Ehu and Waiahiwi roads were without power. MECO crews were working to identify the cause and to restore electrical service.
A 40-foot eucalyptus tree fell in 4th Marine Division Park in Haiku on Friday, forcing the county to close the park until further notice, said county spokesman Rod Antone. He said that the tree “barely missed” a pavilion.
The park, in the area known as Giggle Hill, was closed after the county arborist identified the potential for two other trees to fall due to saturated grounds, rain and high winds.
A Hawaiian Telcom worker repairing phone lines was injured at about 1:40 p.m. Friday in Makawao when a 20-foot eucalyptus tree fell on the boom supporting the elevated basket he was in, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.
Engine 5 responded to Meha and Hanamu Road and found a 34-year-old man with a lower right leg injury and some abrasions to his right arm. The patient was packaged and transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center. His injuries were not life-threatening.
The man was in a hydraulic lift bucket, repairing phone lines when a large eucalyptus tree fell across Meha Road and landed on the midsection of the boom. He was thrown out of the bucket, falling about 20 feet to the ground, Mainaga said.
At about 5 p.m. Friday, the county reported that a tree fell across Meha Road in Makawao, blocking traffic. A notice from the county said that crews from the county, Maui Electric and Hawaiian Telcom were working to clear the tree.
Lt. Wayne Ibarra said that police did not respond to any major weather-related incidents but did receive at least one call for a fallen tree.
State Department of Transportation crews were called to remove boulders from Hana Highway in Maliko at about midnight Friday and from Honoapiilani Highway at Milepost 41 on Friday morning, said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter.
At the Kapalua Plantation Course on Friday, where the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions began, conditions were mostly cloudy and windy with frequent rain squalls, according to a news release from the PGA Tour. The high temperature was 72 degrees with winds out of the east-northeast and blowing 25 to 35 mph with gusts over 40 mph. As of 3 p.m., the course had logged a quarter inch of rain for the day.
Play was suspended twice before it was finally canceled for the day. PGA Tour officials decided to begin the tournament anew this morning with plans to complete rounds one and two.
The Haleakala wind warning covered areas above 6,000 feet. Winds from the east are expected to be 40 to 45 mph with localized gusts of more than 65 mph.
The strong winds can create hazardous conditions for outdoor activities, including hiking. Those driving high-profile vehicles are urged to exercise extreme caution, the National Weather Service said.
The National Weather Service on Friday afternoon extended the wind advisory for all islands to 6 p.m. today. Winds will be from the east, 20 to 35 mph with localized gusts of more than 50 mph.
The high winds can bring down tree branches, produce local power outages and make driving difficult.
Rough and choppy surf rising from 6 to 9 feet was expected along east-facing shores of Maui and Molokai, caused by the strong trade winds. The surf was expected to rise Friday night and remain elevated through the weekend, the National Weather Service said.
Strong breaking waves and dangerous rip currents were expected.