Hard winter rain slams Kauai

LIHUE — Severe weather knocked out power in around a half dozen areas across the island.

Storms also closed the Kalalau Trail on Friday, as Kauai was placed under a flood advisory and high wind warning, which were expected to remain in effect until today. Wind gusts ranged between 14-23 mph — with highs hitting 30 mph — which resulted in power outages across the island a day after an islandwide power outage rang in the new year.

“I’m sure it’s all wind-related,” Kauai Island Utility Cooperative spokesman Jim Kelly wrote in an email.

One area in Koloa affected about 90 customers and another in Hanamaulu affected approximately 10.

Kelly directed updates to the company’s Facebook page. By Friday evening, an area in Lihue had its power restored but Kalaheo, Hanapepe Valley, Ulu Mahi, Hanamaulu and Kokee were still out of power, although the total number of affected people wasn’t known.

“We’re working on restoration, thanks for your patience!” the cooperative wrote on the page.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in cooperation with Hawaii County Civil Defense, closed the Kalalau Trail Friday until further notice because of high winds and possible flash flooding.

DLNR cautioned hikers not to attempt crossing flooded streams. DLNR Parks staff will re-evaluate trail conditions today before deciding when to reopen the popular trail.

Meteorologist Robert Ballard with the National Weather Service in Honolulu said that a strong cold front that moved rapidly across Kauai on Friday should move off just as quickly. It was headed to the northwest and should be clear of Kauai by today.

“It should not last too long,” he said, calling Friday’s rain “a good downpour.”

Ballard said parts of the island could see gusts as high as 50 mph, although the NWS data said it was topping out around 30. By 2 p.m. — the latest 24-hour precipitation totals available before print — Kokee, Mohihi crossing, Kilohana, Waialae and Mount Waialeale were already at a half inch.

Waimea was at .15 inches, Hanapepe at .06, the Lihue Airport at .05. However, the bulk of the rain fell in the early evening.

Showers are expected throughout the rest of the week, but thunderstorm warnings aren’t a part of the outlook. There is between a 20 and 40 percent chance of rain each day over the coming week.

At least two car accidents with injuries were reported on the scanner but more info wasn’t available.

An islandwide power outage lasted three hours early Thursday morning.

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