Whipping winds lead to outages

Powerful winds associated with southwest (Kona) winds Sunday are blamed for power outages that knocked two radio stations off the air for around 16 hours, and left debris on island roadways.

No injuries were reported.

Power outages attributed to the wind were reported in Ha’ena, Princeville and Kilauea Sunday night, said Anne Barnes, Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative spokes-persons.

Oftentimes, when gusty, non-tradewind conditions move across the island, trees come into contact with power lines, sometimes causing outages.

There were many trouble calls received Saturday and able to the high winds, said Carey Koide, plant manager of KIUC’s Kapaia Power Station.

A wind-related power outage kept power from reaching a radio antenna facility at Ha’upu peak between Lihu’e and Koloa, knocking radio stations KTOH (HITS 99.9 FM) and KITH (Island radio 98.9 FM) off the air from around 8 p.m. Sunday until around noon yesterday.

Yesterday morning, engineers from the H. Hawaii Media radio stations, and repairmen from KIUC, chartered a helicopter and went to Ha’upu to make the necessary repairs, after attempts to get power back to the antenna site from below the site were unsuccessful.

A wider power outage occurred at 1:04 a.m. Monday, when a generator at the KIUC Port Allen power plant went down, he said.

This one was not wind-related.

In less than 10 minutes additional generation turned the power back on, but as a result of load-shedding, or cutting power to certain parts of the island on a random basis so other places would retain power, some outages occurred, in the Lihu’e and Kapa’a areas, Koide explained.

Winds of 43 mph were recorded at Lihu’e Airport, and 40 mph at Hanapepe, though the strongest winds were on the Eastside, according to a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

At Hanalei Bay, there is one less pine tree standing at the popular surf break known as Pinetrees beach, as the wind claimed one of the ironwood trees on the beach, North Shore residents reported.

A record-high temperature for Dec. 18 was set on Sunday, 87 degrees, breaking the record of 86 degrees set in 1981, the National Weather Service forecaster said.

While the unsettled weather has left the island for now, another weather system is expected to sweep in Thursday night or Friday morning, bringing with it conditions similar to those experienced this weekend, the forecaster said.

From now until then, light and variable winds are expected, with continued cool nights, the National Weather Service forecaster said.

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