Kauai weathers Ana

KOLOA — There were some strong winds, a few downpours and a some big waves, but it was an otherwise quiet Sunday on Kauai as Hurricane Ana passed by and was downgraded to a tropical storm by the afternoon.

Residents and visitors went for walks, ate at restaurants and ventured out on boogie boards at Kalapaki Beach as weather conditions were, for the most part, mild through the day and the bay was calm. At Ahukini Harbor, many people stopped by to view the waves crashing in, but even there, the expected monster waves never materialized.

“It’s a lot more quiet than I expected,” said Thomas Elgin, a visitor from the Portland area who said he decided to go for a drive and check things out. “We thought it might be crazy out here today, but it’s not.”

As a hurricane, the closest the storm got to Hawaii was about 70 miles southwest of Niihau. There were no reports of problems on the privately owned island that’s home to fewer than 100 people.

Hurricane Ana had been churning dangerously close for several days, spinning parallel to the islands where residents were urged to be ready.

Instead the storm mainly stayed to the southwest, bringing little more than heavy rain and big waves.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect Sunday for the islands of Kauai and Niihau, and a hurricane watch has been issued for parts of remote northwestern islands, home to a largely uninhabited marine sanctuary.

The have been no reports of injuries or significant damage.

Many on Kauai went about their routine business.

“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.”

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. Maluhia and all roads were opened around noon.

All beaches from Anahola to Kekaha were closed Sunday, including Anahola, Kealia, Lydgate, Poipu, Salt Pond and Kekaha beaches. Lifeguards were roving the beaches to warn beachgoers of the closures.

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.

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

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

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.

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

The Red Cross opened three shelters Saturday; all three were closed Sunday.

Despite quiet conditions Sunday, county officials urged residents and visitors to stay home or stay with friends, rather than venture out. There were still some high winds and a few downed tree branches.

“If at all possible, it is best to stay indoors and off roadways throughout the duration of the storm as hazardous conditions are expected to continue across the island,” said Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr.

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

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