Hawaiian Islands Dodge Direct Hit; Face Floods, Fire, Power Outages in Wake

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Tropical Storm Lane, downgraded Friday, has left the Big Island, Maui and parts of Oahu, fighting unprecedented flooding as the rainmaker dumped nearly 40inches on the Big Island triggering landslides, swollen rivers, falling trees, and destroyed roads.

 

"We dodged a bullet," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said to reporters. With the potential for catastrophic damage from Category 4 winds over, Tropical Storm Lane, with sustained winds of 60mph, remains stalled off the coast.

The crisis remains with the focus shifting to the intense and damaging and life-threatening rains and flooding the heavy rainmaker will produce.


 

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The slow, crawling storm, barely moving at 3mph, does noting to abate the current conditions. Residents, from the Big Island, Maui and Oahu are facing record rainfall, unforeseen saturation and destabilized ground with the increasing potential of landslides.

Damage estimates are in the billions with reports of widespread flood damage. Brushfires, caused by down power lines, were whipped up by the strong winds Lane continues to produce. The heavy rains were helpful in dousing the flames but not before the two separate fires on the island of Maui had consumed or damaged up to seven homes.

The Big Islands Kilauea volcano seemed relatively unfazed by the intense winds and extreme rains and while locals have said the volcano simmered down, scientists have indicated the volcano remained active throughout the heaviest of rains. Likening the two weather related phenomena as "two storms passing in a closet." Each will continue unaffected by the other.

 

Hawaii News Now, has posted pictures provided by residents which show flooded homes with water lines reaching three foot inside homes, washed away fences, mud, debris, motorists driving through floodwaters, heavily flooded underpasses, and heavy traffic.

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, via telephone spoke with KHON 2, and posted the video on Facebook, showing more intense damage around the island and in the mountains of Maui, and providing residents with updated information on road closures, what services are available, and shelters. @twitter.com/CountyofMaui

Estimates are that nearly 300,000 tourists were stranded on various islands during the Hurricane and are being asked to stay out of the water. No swimming until further notice especially for the tourists.

Airports are open and while power has been restored. Airlines are offering travel vouchers for stranded tourists. For those hoping to fly out on the next available flight the Hawaiian Tourists Authority is urging stranded tourists not to show up at the airports without a ticket.


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While the worst of Tropical Storm Lane, the winds and heavy precipitation may prohibit airlines from moving expeditiously. The concern for the passengers safety is paramount and flights will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Call ahead or if possible shelter in place for an additional day.