(BIVN) – High winds are currently battering Hawaii Island, as communities along north-facing shores brace for huge surf.
A Wind Advisory is in effect through 10 p.m. HST this evening, with winds expected to diminish quickly during the overnight hours.
The North to northeast winds are whipping the Big Island at 20 to 35 mph with localized gusts over 50 mph.
Hawaii County Police report downed trees in Puna, Hilo and South Kohala.
Police also say North Kulani Road is closed in both directions between Ihope Road and Stainback Highway due to downed power lines. Motorists in the affected area are advised to avoid the area as Police and Public Works personnel are on scene. Use Highway 11 until further notice, officials say.
Power and phone outages are occurring, Hawaii County Civil Defense says.
The Hawai‘i Electric Light Company is responding. HELCO says crews are working to safely restore power to customers who have lost electricity as a result of the windy conditions. “All available crews are responding to reports of downed power lines, trees on the lines, and related issues due to the wind experienced on Hawai‘i Island on Tuesday. Customers in multiple locations are impacted,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, Hawaiʻi Electric Light spokesperson. “Our first priority is safety for our customers and our employees. We know what a hardship it is for our customers to be out of power. We sincerely apologize and want to assure them we are doing everything we can to safely restore service as quickly as possible.”
The National Weather Service says these stronger northerly winds may continue to affect parts of Hilo, Puna, and Kona which are typically sheltered from stronger winds during more usual trade wind directions.
Due to the high winds, civil defense says residents should:
- Secure all items that may be affected by high winds. Complete precautionary actions before nightfall. Be especially cautions of holiday decorations being affected.
- Do be aware of the possibility of utility services being affected. Power and phone outages are occurring.
- Hawaii Police Department reports downed trees in Puna, Hilo, and South Kohala are already occurring.
- Motorists be on the alert for debris on the roadways caused by high winds.
At the same time, the National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for north-facing shores of Hawaii Island, today through tomorrow. A High Surf Warning means there is a high threat to life and property from the surf.
According to forecasters, north-facing shores of Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island will see surf heights of 18 to 24 feet tonight rising to 24 to 30 feet Wednesday morning.
Hawaii County Civil Defense says surf along the north-facing shores of North Kohala and Hamakua may be affected today through tomorrow. The highest threat will coincide with the high tides, which occur at 4 p.m. today and 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Due to the High Surf Warning, the following are in effect:
- Oceanfront residents and beachgoers along the affected shores are advised to be on the alert for high and dangerous surf.
- Boat owners and oceanfront residents should take action to secure their property before nightfall.
- Closures of roads and beaches may occur without notice.