After Maui County absorbed what was left of Iselle after it slammed into the Big Island, Mayor Alan Arakawa sounded the all-clear sign late Friday afternoon for the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
Still, there were tense moments on Thursday as the storm, which was hurricane when it made a direct hit on the Big Island, was poised to take on the rest of the island chain as a still powerful tropical storm.
East Maui bore the brunt of the Iselle. From Hana to the high country, repair crews scrambled to restore power to thousands, while Hana suffered some flooding.
Gale force winds easily knocked down several trees and power lines and that led to a couple of road closures in Upcountry Maui. At one time, 3,000 people were out of power in the region.
Crews also worked to restore power to close to 500 customers on Molokai, as well as to the community of Kalaupapa.
For Olinda, the lack of power to the treatment plant forced residents in Upper Kula to to conserve their fresh supplies of drinking water.
In Makawao, most businesses opted not to open on Friday, except for Komoda Store and Bakery.
The business has seen a lot since it frist opened in 1916 and on Friday, the storm did not stop employees from serving fresh pastry and a hot cup of coffee for breakfast.
Komoda manager Calvin Shibuya has seen many storms in his time. “Oh yes, many times, we’ve had power failures, but this time, I’m prepared and I got a portable generator,” said Shibuya.
After Iselle made a direct hit on the Big Island, it was to track below the rest of the island chain and that caused some concern that it would heavily impact the resort area of Makena and the adjacent community of Kihei, all in South Maui.
But aside from some scattered outages, Iselle was not enough to ruin the weekend plans for both residents and visitors.
“We didn’t notice anything, just a little rain and a small amount of wind,” said Randy Schrotberger, who was visiting from Seattle with his wife and two daughters. “Other than that, it was mild and calm.”
Mayor Arakawa recognized that the Big Island absorbed most of the power of Iselle and was relieved that his county was able to stand up to what was left of the tropical storm.
“I’m very, very happy that the storm pretty much broke up on the Big Island and was dissipating,” he said.
Arakawa added that there were neither casualties nor anyone who required major medical assistance.
Arakawa also said there was some good from the storm in that Maui County needed the rain to fill its reservoirs to deal with the dry conditions.
The storm also gave his county crews the chance to test the training they have been receiving to deal with such an emergency.