Kauai weathers Ana

KOLOA — Roger Jensen was pleasantly surprised Sunday at Koloa Elementary School.

“I never expected TV coverage,” said Jensen, the Red Cross facility manager. “I thought I would have to just use my cell phone to keep track of the storm, but having television coverage definitely helps.”

Jensen was overseeing one of two Red Cross shelters opened Saturday afternoon to accommodate people as Hurricane Ana passed by.

In addition to the Koloa shelter, the American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue. The Koloa shelter was closed Sunday afternoon after it remained empty.

County officials urged residents and visitors to shelter in-place, if possible, or stay with family or friends due to limited shelter space.

The passage of Hurricane Ana generated a tropical storm warning and flash flood watch which blanketed the island for most of the day, as Ana passed south of Kauai and Niihau early Sunday morning generating higher levels of wind, powerful surf accompanied by banks of heavy rain.

The wind toppled a tree on Maluhia Road, forcing the closure of the road known as the Tree Tunnel Road, and a downed tree blocking one lane of Puuopae Road in Wailua Homesteads slowed traffic in that area.

“I passed through Maluhia Road Saturday,” Jensen said. “There were a couple of deadheads which had already fallen from the rising wind.”

Both roads were open shortly after noon Sunday.

Saturday afternoon, the county closed the Kealia Beach, Lydgate and Poipu beaches.

“We have water safety officers patrolling the area,” said Sarah Blane, the county’s public information officer. “The lifeguard tower at Poipu Beach is closed, but the lifeguards will be patrolling the areas using the all-terrain vehicles.”

Aaron Haberman, one of the Poipu lifeguards, said the hazards were not limited to the high surf and strong currents, but also included flying debris.

“We’re here, come hell, or high water,” said Mary Mills of the Risa’s Rainbow, a vendor at the Spouting Horn lookout. “I lost a house in Hurricane Iwa, and a house in Hurricane Iniki, but I survived. We’re pretty well protected. I had to move some stuff because of the wind and rain, but we’re here.”

Mills said there were two vendors who didn’t show up due to the weather.

The harbors at Nawiliwili and Port Allen, and all the small boat harbors on the island, were closed.

A yacht moored in Nawiliwili Harbor broke its mooring Saturday night, drifting to a hard grounding across the bay. According to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Nawiliwili, the owner of the boat has been notified and plans are under way to salvage it.

Other closures include all green waste services across the island as well as beaches from Anahola to Kekaha. Fallen branches and flying debris closed the Wailua Golf Course as well as Salt Pond Beach Park.

 A few hundred people on the island experienced power outages, but many had their service restored by Sunday morning.

Hawaiian Airlines canceled some morning Kauai flights, leaving about two dozen travelers to wait for an afternoon trip.

Forecasters said they expect the storm will pass about 70 miles south of Niihau. There were no reports of problems on Niihau, a privately owned island that’s home to fewer than 100 people. 

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