Power Restored to Entire Big Island Following Major Storm

Hawaii Electric Light has completed repairs to all major damage caused by a storm system that passed over the islands late last week. At about 2:00 p.m. today, power was restored to the remaining 10 customers on Cane Haul Road (Honokaa) and in a remote area of Waipio Valley.

HELCO at Waipio“We would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding as we worked to safely restore electric service,” said Rhea Lee, Hawaii Electric Light spokesperson. “We realize how frustrating and difficult it is to be without electricity for an extended period of time, and our dedicated employees worked very long hours to assist customers and restore service as quickly as possible.

“The safety of the community and our employees always is our top priority. This storm damaged infrastructure around the island and some of the more extensive damage occurred in remote areas that were difficult to access until fallen trees and brush were removed, hindering repair progress in some cases.”

Hawaii Electric Light also reminds the community to be safe and treat all downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance.

The community is reminded to be cautious of trees that could have been weakened by the storm. Storms can weaken trees and their branches but not break them. Winds can topple weakened trees after a storm has passed, and this could cause new power interruptions.

Please call 969-6666 to report an outage, downed power line, or damaged utility equipment.

Storm Batters Boats Throughout Hawaii

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and several of its divisions responded to reports of at least six vessels adrift or grounded, as a result of a short, but severe winter storm on Jan. 2 and 3.

A 75-foot, 84-ton sailing ketch, Hawaii Aloha ran aground in the wave zone fronting the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort on Hawaii Island, Friday night.

The Coast Guard and the Hawaii County Fire Department are searching for a possible person in the water off of the Big Island, Hawaii, Jan. 3, 2015. The 74-foot sailing vessel, Hawaii Aloha ran hard aground with five persons on board. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Coast Guard and the Hawaii County Fire Department are searching for a possible person in the water off of the Big Island, Hawaii, Jan. 3, 2015. The 74-foot sailing vessel, Hawaii Aloha ran hard aground with five persons on board. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The boat’s captain and three crew members managed to get off before it grounded.  The search for a fifth crew member is continuing.  Staff from the DLNR Divisions of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), are working with salvage and insurance companies to develop a salvage and wreckage removal plan for the Hawaii Aloha. Interim DLNR Chairperson Carty Chang said, “We want to exercise great care in removing this boat, as it still contains more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel and is resting in a position that could cause environmental damage.  The plans we’re working on currently will take into consideration all factors to minimize any further damage to fragile natural resources.”

A 45-foot sail boat, Kanua Kai, ran aground atop the reef fronting the Cheeseburger in Paradise Restaurant on Front Street in Lahaina, Maui.  DOBOR worked with the owner and the boat’s insurer to remove this vessel. DLNR was involved in this vessel removal to assess and mitigate any reef damage caused by this grounding. 

On Friday night, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) informed DLNR that a 780-foot container ship Horizon Pacific ran aground in the channel as it exited Honolulu Harbor.  The ship was able to “self-extract” and returned to port Saturday afternoon where divers assessed its hull for damage.  DAR is sending a team into the water, as soon as weather and ocean conditions allow, to get a better picture of any damage.

DOBOR, DAR, and the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) were informed by the USCG and various county authorities of additional groundings or vessel capsizes including:

  • A 13-foot Boston Whaler with an outboard engine capsized off Swanzee Beach Park, Oahu, Friday night.  The owner reportedly swam ashore.
  • USCG reported two vessels in distress in Kaneohe Bay, Friday night. A 36-38 foot long sailing vessel was reported loose and heading toward Chinaman’s Hat.  Weather conditions did not permit a U.S. Marine Corp (USMC) waterfront operations vessel to relocate.
  • While attempting to locate the vessel above the USMC vessel located the 26-foot sailing vessel Kaileadrift in Kaneohe Bay.  It had a broken anchor line off its bow.  It later grounded atop the sandbar in Kaneohe Bay.  This boat was removed late Saturday.

    DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood reminded boat owners and operators, “To always have required safety equipment on board your vessel and to pay very close attention to marine weather conditions and reports.”