Share This Page

Storm-soaked Hawaii quickly recovering

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, 7:03 p.m.

HONOLULU — Tourists in Oahu and other popular parts of Hawaii got back to their beach vacations and residents lined up to vote in primary elections Saturday, a day after Tropical Storm Iselle swept through the islands without widespread disaster. But a large, rural swath of the Big Island has spent more than 24 hours without electricity and is struggling with downed trees blocking roads.

Iselle made landfall early Friday over the lower Puna region in the isolated southeastern part of the island, bringing down heavy rain, unleashing violent winds and toppling trees. The mostly agricultural area is as big as the island of Oahu and quickly growing because of affordable property, but it's nowhere near as populated as the tourist destination home to Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor.

Umbrellas, surfboards and kayaks were back Saturday at Waikiki Beach, but surf shop worker Sparky Barros said business was still a little slow compared with a normal sunny day. It was damp and cloudy at the popular tourist spot, and rain was off and on throughout Honolulu, but people went about jogging, swimming and lying on the beach even as attention shifted toward Hurricane Julio. The storm was expected to pass roughly 160 miles northeast of the islands at its closest point early Sunday and linger near the state into Monday.

Back on the Big Island, Gene Lamkin knows that life in the sparsely populated, jungle-like Puna region, where unpaved roads of volcanic rock are not maintained by the county, means being prepared for the worst.

“Those that didn't prepare are going to be in dire straits,” he said, speaking from a cellphone he charged using a generator. “We invested in a generator years ago, but this is the first time we've had to use it at a full-time capacity. We always have our shelves stocked with food and water.”

Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira worries there could be injured people rescuers can't reach.

“We're hopeful even with the damage, we don't have casualties that are unaccounted for,” he said.

Puna, which is home to about 40,000 people, had the bulk of the 9,200 customers still without power, according to Hawaii Electric Light Co. Outages could last through the weekend or longer, the utility said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.