“What a miserable Valentine’s Day.” That’s what a man said who lost his entire roof to the howling wind Saturday, and then had the inside of his home drenched by heavy rain.
He certainly was not alone in his misery. The Honolulu Fire Department reports that between midnight and early Saturday afternoon, it received 67 calls for blown roofs, seven for downed power lines, 27 calls for downed trees, plus a variety of calls of other hazards like blown transformers and broken rain gutters.
In all, the HFD responded to 175 weather-related emergencies.
Folks on the Windward side were clearly hit the hardest as the already strong southerly winds accelerated downslope on the north side of the Ko’olau range.
It was impossible to drive down Ulukanu Street in Kailua without noticing the remnants of someone’s roof in the middle of the street.
“It’s leaking a lot. It’s coming down through the light fixtures,” said Greta Barron, whose home roof was torn off around 3:30 a.m. and ended up in the middle of the street. “We have pots and pans, towels, blankets, everything we’ve got (soaking up the water) as best as we can.”
Residents on the Kailua street also suffered a power outage while crews worked to repair down power lines.
Overall, torrential downpours and gusty winds were part of the battle firefighters faced as they assisted residents on the Windward side. The need for help was so great, fire companies from town were dispatched to assist.
“There’s at least eight or nine companies from town-side reinforcing the Windward side,” said Fire Captain Duke Kahanau with Engine 8, Mokulele Fire Station.
Firefighters were assisting residents with their property damage on Pua Makahala Street in Kaneohe.
“This particular address lost most of their roofs,” said Fire Captain Thomas Reppuhn, with Engine 19, Aikahi Fire Station. “We had a little bit of a delay because HECO had to come out. It tangled into electric lines that had some downed lines earlier.”
“I told my husband to go check the roof because I felt water on my head. And he said, oh yeah, it blew off!” said resident Michele Navarro Ishiki.
Most of the Ishikis home roof was torn off due to last night’s windy conditions and ended up on their front yard. “I’ve never heard it like that. I was scared. Things knocking and banging throughout the night. I was wondering if our neighbors’ roof would end up in our home. It was that bad. Very noisy.”
But despite the damage, the homeowners are thankful no one got hurt.
“It was a tough one, but the kids slept through, magically,” Barron said. “It’s raining in our home! But the kids are OK. We keep focusing on that,” said Ishiki.