LIHUE — The storm that hit Kauai the night before Christmas was a doozy.
It knocked out power, closed bridges and roads, led to requests for water conservation and a brown water advisory, and people were urged to stay out of the ocean.
But, on a positive note, there were no reports of injuries.
On a troublesome note, while sunshine has returned, flooding remains a threat.
“Coastal flooding is possible over the next couple of days along all shores of the Hawaiian Islands due to unusually high water levels,” the National Weather Service reported Wednesday. “The greatest potential for coastal flooding impacts will be through early tomorrow morning, especially around the peak high tide between midnight and daybreak. These water levels combined with the potential for heavy rainfall and moderate to strong southerly winds tonight could exacerbate flooding in these low-lying coastal areas due to poor drainage.”
Beth Tokioka, spokeswoman for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, said at the peak of the storm about 10,000 members were without power early Wednesday due to high winds impacting trees and lines. It was down to about 1,000 members without power by Wednesday afternoon.
She said areas from Koloa/Poipu all the way east and north were hardest hit. The Westside was impacted but not as severely. The outages started occurring around 9 p.m. Tuesday when wind and rains began hammering the island and continued throughout the night and into Wednesday morning.
“Many of these repairs are temporary. Getting as many people powered as quickly and safely as possible has been the goal. Permanent fixes such as pole replacements in certain areas will come later,” Tokioka wrote.
She said KIUC had about 20 linemen working Wednesday, responding in crews of two or more to cover multiple areas at any given time.
“We are also concerned for the well-being of our lineman, most of whom have been working non-stop since before the storm began through very difficult weather conditions,” Tokioka wrote.
KIUC hoped to restore power to all residents by Wednesday evening.
Rain came down in buckets Tuesday night and early Wednesday. The Wailua Ditch rain gauge received 9.06 inches of rain over 24 hours, ending 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. The Mt. Waialeale rain gauge received 16.29 inches of rain, while the Waiakoali rain gauge near Waimea received 6.55 inches of rain over 24 hours.
A flash flood warning for Kauai was issued Tuesday night and canceled Wednesday afternoon but Kuhio Highway at the Hanalei Bridge was closed due to flooding until about 4:30 Wednesday. Then, Kuhio Highway in the vicinity of the Hanalei Bridge was opened to one lane of alternating traffic.
There were multiple road closures throughout the island Wednesday morning, but by afternoon, all major roads other than Kuhio Highway had reopened. Crews continued to deal with areas of fallen debris and utility lines, a county press release said.
The Hanapepe swinging bridge was damaged in the storm and was closed.
Ocean Safety officials advised no swimming islandwide due to a brown water advisory.
Water conservation request for customers in Hanapepe and Eleele was lifted as of 1:20 p.m. Wednesday. Department of Water crews were able to access remote sites in those areas and repaired the electrical power issues that were affecting pump stations due to the power outages.
The water conservation request for Kilauea and Hanalei customers remained in effect late Wednesday afternoon as DOW’s remote sites in those areas remain inaccessible. DOW crews were continuing work to gain access to those sites.
The outlook for today and Friday, according to the National Weather Service, predicts mostly sunny, with a high near 82 and calm winds. The chance of precipitation is 50%.