Flossie fizzles

Weakened storm could drench island

Story by Tom LaVenture

LIHUE — Kauai’s Westside could feel the most of what remains of the diminishing power of Flossie as it passes west of the island today. At about 5 p.m. Monday, the tropical storm was downgraded to a tropical depression, but a flash flood watch remained in effect for Kauai and Niihau.

“Heavy rains and strong wind could result in localized flash flooding, ponding on roadways, rockslides and flying debris. Dangerous surf conditions are also expected along all east-facing shores through Tuesday,” county spokeswoman Sarah Blane said in a press release Monday, after the storm was downgraded.

The storm was moving at about 18 mph on Monday, according to Michael Cantin, a weather coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Forecast Office in Honolulu. He said at a press conference that Kauai could expect lingering rainfall associated with the storm until the system leaves the area by midday Tuesday.

“For Kauai we are looking at winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph beginning late this afternoon and evening with rainfall of about one to two inches,” Cantin said Monday.

At the time of the meeting, the storm was 95 miles North Northwest of Hilo and North Northeast of Kailua-Kona, and still 250 miles East Southeast of Lihue and 305 miles East Southeast of Niihau. The storm would continue weakening into a tropical depression throughout Monday and more rapidly overnight, he said.

“By Wednesday, whether the storm has dissipated or not, it will be west of the main Hawaiian islands and not causing any issues by then,” Cantin said.

Despite the anticipated declassification overnight, Cantin said the tropical storm warning and flash flood watch remains for all islands in the state. The storm’s center has sustained winds of 40 mph.

The danger continues to be with moderate rainfall and strong gusts that could cause minor structural damage and temporary power outages, he said. The combination of wind, rain and surf creates a potentially deadly situation in the water.

“We recommend that people stay out of water,” Cantin said. “The surf may look like fun but there are other things to worry about as well.”

Kauai Police Dispatch reported at 12:09 p.m. that a tree branch fell on the head of female visitor in Kilauea. Kauai Fire Department Engine 5 and Truck 5 responded and her condition is not known.

Anahola tower responded to a male boogie boarder in his 40s after being swept out a half mile in heavy surf. His mother called Dispatch at around 12:15 p.m. and responders were on the scene.

At around the same time Dispatch reported a call about a utility wire hanging low near the ground near the Kauai Sands hotel in Kapaa.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urged the public and cleanup workers to be aware of possible hazards from restoring utilities to tree trimming or using contaminated water or food.

The County of Kauai is asking visitors and residents to adhere to warnings and alerts issued by the National Weather Service, Civil Defense and the counties.

Blane said county officials and the Kauai Visitors Bureau have assisted in preparing information on alternate accommodations for stranded passengers.

The American Red Cross had pre-deployed shelter supplies at Hanalei School, and Red Cross volunteers would be available on an on-call basis throughout Monday night in the event of a flash flood warning, she said.

The Kalalau trail will remain closed until further notice. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the state park Monday as a precaution. Blane said the Civil Air Patrol conducted fly-overs along the Na Pali coast since Sunday afternoon, warning campers and hikers of the potential dangers of the storm.

The county Department of Water canceled a scheduled water outage for the Hanalei and Waipa areas. The new date of the scheduled water outage will be announced as information becomes available, according to Blane.

Visit www.kauai.gov/civildefense for emergency preparedness information and www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl for weather updates.

Kauai remains under flash flood watch

Story by Léo Azambuja

LIHUE — The first threat of a major storm since hurricane season started June 1, turned out to be a flop.

All eyes were on Tropical Storm Flossie Monday. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation Sunday in anticipation to the storm, and Kauai was put in a tropical storm warning as of 5 a.m. Monday.

But as Flossie approached Hawaii, it rapidly lost strength.

“Looks like Flossie is breaking up,” said Caroline Sluyter, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation Monday at noon.

Still, by 1 p.m., Abercrombie announced that department heads had been delegated the authority to determine whether to release employees from work due to effects of the storm.

Kauai Visitors Bureau Sue Kanoho said she was busy all morning assessing how many visitors were on the island and what would happen in the next 24 hours.

By 5 p.m., Flossie had been downgraded to tropical depression, but the County of Kauai remained under a flash flood watch.

Sluyter said all Hawaii airports remained open throughout the warning, but some airlines decided to cancel flights.

Preparing for Flossie in stride

Story by Darin Moriki

LIHUE — When Courtney Chadderdon heard that Tropical Storm Flossie was approaching the islands on Sunday, the Poipu resident said she wanted to leave nothing to chance and quickly made plans for a grocery run.

“I just thought, ‘OK, when we get up, we’ll head out and get some water,’” Courtney Chadderdon said as she, her husband, Curtis, and their four children loaded their car with groceries on Monday in the Costco parking lot. “When I saw everybody with the water in the store, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I better get some.’”

The parking and check-out lines at many grocery stores throughout Lihue were relatively light on Monday afternoon even as the storm began its approach to the island.

For many, it was business as usual. People still sipped coffee at Starbucks, went for an jog or visited the beaches.

But some wary residents who did some grocery shopping said they, like the Chadderdon family, were taking a few precautions.  

“Ever since the store opened this morning, everyone has been stocking up on water and has been coming out with at least two cases of it,” said Costco employee MJ Calhoun said as he collected shopping carts from the parking lot. “The good thing about it (bottled water) is that there’s always a use for it even without the storm.”

Koloa resident Peggy Stowe said she and her husband had stopped by the store on Saturday to pick up two weeks worth of groceries. But Stowe said she wanted to pick up an extra pack of bottled water and beer before the storm arrived.

“I thought Koloa was beautiful today (Monday) except it really was humid because the storm is coming,” Stowe said. “I was not worried about it until my husband, who is a boat captain, called me up this morning and told me everyone out there was getting worried even though it was beautiful out on the water.”

Outside of the Longs Drugs store in Kukui Grove shopping center, Kauai High School mathematics teacher Alfredo Carbonel said he bought some groceries and classroom supplies before the school year officially starts tomorrow for teachers but decided to take an additional precaution while he was shopping.

“I needed to buy some bottled water,” Carbonel said as he was unloading his groceries into his car, “but since the storm is coming, I decided to buy two cases instead of one.”

Many of these residents, however, said they were not too concerned about the storm itself, which lost a significant amount its strength during its approach to Kauai and was downgraded to a tropical depression later in the day.

“I’m not as much panicked as I am cautious about being prepared,” Courtney Chadderdon said.

Stowe agreed and said she follows a simple mantra when it comes to times like these: “Be prepared but think positive.”

“All you can do is to think positive,” Stowe said.

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