Lightning strike cut power to state emergency operating center during Darby

Tropical Storm Darby knocked out power to several communities and facilities Sunday night.

We’ve now learned the Emergency Operating Center in Diamond Head Crater was one of them.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency was preparing for a video-teleconference with state and county agencies, but the power kept going out, so officials decided to switch over to a generator.

“Just about the time they made that switchover, with the manual transfer switch, the lightning struck the top of the building and it fried that switch, and once that happened, we could no longer switch to generator power,” explained Maj. Gen. Joe Logan, Adjutant General and Hawaii Emergency Management Agency director.

Power was out for about 90 minutes as employees moved operations to a nearby secondary facility. Logan said the outage triggered a short delay, but did not seriously impact operations at the center.

“We had connectivity throughout,” he said. “Even though the power’s out, the phone system still worked, so we’re using the phones. We just couldn’t do the (video-teleconferencing) that we normally like to do, but we stayed in constant contact and so that was not an issue.”

Officials say the automatic transfer switch connection is now operational, and the agency can rely on a secondary source of power.

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