UPDATE 8 p.m.: Power outage may last overnight Upcountry

Snow blankets the Polipoli Springs State Recreation Area early Sunday morning. LANCE ENDO photo

Power outages caused by falling trees and downed power lines could last through the night in some areas, Maui Electric Co. warned.

MECO asked customers in the Olinda and Piiholo area, as well as parts of Haiku along Kokomo Road and Kauhikoa Road, to prepare for an extended outage, possibly overnight. Extensive tree clearing work, as well as darkness and windy conditions, has been slowing the replacement of downed poles and other equipment, MECO said.

As of 6 p.m., crews had restored power to some customers in Central Maui, East Maui, Upcountry and parts of Wailuku and Haiku, as well as to customers on Molokai’s east end and the Lalakoa area on Lanai. Restoration efforts were continuing in areas of Upcountry, East Maui and West Maui.

Outage notifications are posted on the company’s Twitter account @MauiElectric. The public can also sign up for outage and restoration updates at mauielectric.com. To report an outage or downed power line, call 871-7777 on Maui or (877) 871-8461 toll free on Molokai and Lanai.

MECO also warned customers to stay away from fallen or low-hanging wires or anything such wires may be touching, including puddles where downed lines may have landed. If a power line falls on a car that you are in, stay inside and wait for help. If possible, try to break contact with the line by driving the car away from it. If you need to get out of the car right away because of an immediate danger like fire, jump so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. This will prevent your body from becoming an electrical path from the car to the ground.

Because of the power outages, the county Department of Water Supply has asked customers to conserve water through Monday. Water service has not been interrupted, but water storage tank levels have been dropping, and the department cannot run pumps to fill them, administrative officer Jacky Takakura said. Once power is restored, water levels should return to normal levels.

Haleakala National Park Summit District remained closed to all visitors due to snowy and icy road conditions and power outages throughout the district. The park will be closed at least through 9 a.m. Monday, with sunrise viewing canceled. The Summit District will reopen when conditions improve. The National Weather Service predicted three inches of snow at the summit, as well as winds up to 40 to 60 mph and localized gusts of over 85 mph predicted.

Waiehu Golf Course and all beach parks have been closed until further notice. The Department of Parks and Recreation plans to assess the situation on Monday. Recycling centers in Kihei, Haiku and Makawao have also been closed due to high winds. The Department of Environmental Management will evaluate the centers on Monday. The Maui Bus has been running on its regular schedule, though riders could experience delays due to the storm. Riders can find updated information and track the bus via the Maui Bus app.

All public schools planned to open as usual on Monday, though the state Department of Education said it would continue to monitor the weather.

As of Sunday evening, Piiholo Road, Olinda Road and Makawao Avenue remained closed due to downed trees and utility lines.

The public should expect continued outages and road closures through Monday as a powerful winter storm brings strong winds, rain and high surf to the islands.

Maui County was under a high wind warning through 12 a.m. Monday, with winds of 20 to 40 mph and localized gusts of 60 mph in the forecast. South- and west-facing shores of Maui, Lanai and Kahoolawe were under a high surf advisory through 6 a.m. Monday, with waves of 8 to 12 feet expected along west-facing shores and waves of 5 to 8 feet along south-facing shores. North- and west-facing shores of Molokai and north-facing shores of Maui were under a high surf warning until 6 p.m. Monday, with surf of 40 to 60 feet expected along the north-facing shores of both islands, and surf of 30 to 40 feet along Molokai’s west shores.

To report any storm-related damage and problems, call the Maui Emergency Management Agency at 270-7285. For more information or to register for the county’s Maka’ala alert system, visit mauicounty.gov/emergency.