The Big Island is starting to feel the effects of Hurricane Iselle. Severe weather has been coming and going in waves.
Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County Civil Defense is urging residents to stay alert. “Right now we’re seeing some pretty mild wind conditions here in Hilo, but as reported in the field, the Pahoa area is seeing significant winds as well as heavy rains.”
There were also reports of numerous power outages and trees down in the area.
The Big Island Biodiesel plant in Keaau, Hawaii Island lost power shortly after 6 p.m.
According to Hawaii Electric Light Co., the following areas are currently out of power: Puna (approximately 5,200 customers), Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland, Ainaloa subdivision into Pahoa, parts of Kapoho, Pahoa to Vacationland, small pockets in Honokaa and Haumakua.
The evacuation shelter in Pahoa briefly lost power, but it has been restored, the company said.
The following road closures are in effect:
- Route 132 (Pahoa to Kapoho Rd) remains closed between Nanawale Blvd and Lava Tree Park due to two downed trees. Use Leilani Blvd to bypass.
- Kalanianaole Ave, one lane of traffic closed in the area of Carlsmith Beach Park due to fallen trees on utility wires
Route 11 (Keaau to Volcano Hwy) was completely blocked by down trees near 19 mm. It was reopened just before 6:30 p.m.
At Hilo International Airport, there were no scheduled flights after 5 p.m. Thursday although the airfield is open for emergencies.
Hawaii County offices closed at noon Thursday, August 7, and will remain closed all day Friday, August 8.
Essential employees whose work involves continuing crucial operations and services will remain on the job. These employees have been identified by their departments and are required to report to work.
Hawaii County evacuation shelters opened at noon Thursday. Four resorts also had to take advantage of the shelter, Oliveira said.
“We have maybe about 800 (people staying in shelters) total throughout the whole island,” said Stephanie Schroeder, American Red Cross volunteer. “It’s starting to trickle down. We don’t have as many people coming in right now. We had a few people coming in earlier from the hotels, but once the weather starts to change, we may see an increase in numbers then.”
Absentee walk-in voting closed earlier than expected Thursday in light of worsening conditions.
To provide for everyone’s safety, the following county facilities have been closed:
- All County Parks and Beach Parks will not open on Thursday and will remain closed until further notice.
- All County Solid Waste Transfer Stations and both the Hilo and Puuanahulu Landfills will close at noon on Thursday.
All Hele-On buses are scheduled to operate as normal on Thursday and Friday. However, due to heavy rains and potential road closures, bus routes may be canceled with little or no notice. Please prepare for alternative transportation during this hurricane event. Delays are expected.
Residents are strongly encouraged to stay off roadways and travel as little as possible to avoid wind and flooding hazards.
“We want people as much as possible to stay off of the roads,” said Hawaii Island mayor Billy Kenoi. “It makes it a lot easier for our agencies and our first responders to better respond out there when we don’t have people on the roads if they don’t need to be.”
Senior Nutrition Programs and Elderly Recreation Program activities are canceled Thursday and Friday. Van service provided by Coordinated Services for the Elderly has been suspended for Thursday and Friday.
Michael Warner sent in the following time lapse video of storm clouds and rain blowing in over Kaanapali between 5 and 6 p.m. on August, 7, 2014.