HONOLULU – As the first tropical storm to hit Hawaii in 22 years passed by the islands, some coffee farmers on the Big Island navigated flooded roads to assess damage to their crops Friday while residents and tourists wandered the beaches of Oahu and surfers took to the waves as wind and rain let up.
The first storm in a one-two punch bound for Hawaii came ashore overnight Friday as a weakened tropical storm. A second system behind it also weakened and was on track to pass well north of the islands early Sunday.
Tropical Storm Iselle knocked out power, caused flooding and downed trees when it crossed onto the Big Island in a rural and sparsely populated region. There have been no reports of major injuries, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Friday.
Heavy rains and wind from the storm’s outer bands hit Maui and Oahu on Friday morning but eased later in the day as Iselle swirled farther out to sea.
Those staying in shelters were told to return home, while crews and some residents used chain saws to clear trees from roads.
On Oahu’s south shore, near Honolulu, the cloudy skies started to give way to patches of blue as tourists and residents ventured out to see the surf.
Honolulu’s lifeguard division said about a dozen surfers were riding waves Friday at a spot nicknamed “Suicides,” near the popular Diamond Head crater.
Still, the National Park Service said it would keep its popular memorial sites at Pearl Harbor in Oahu closed through today as staff keeps an eye on Hurricane Julio.
The storm affected some Big Island residents who planned to vote in today’s primary election: State elections officials say they will postpone the primary election for about 8,000 voters in two precincts on the island because of nearby road damage caused by the storm. The roads left communities in Puna isolated, Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said in a statement Friday.
The rest of the primary will move forward as planned, and the two precincts will vote absentee later, Nago said.