Hawaii Blizzards

UPDATE: Another account of the storm. This time from a friend whose house is further up the mountainside than my daughter's and closer to where that one house was carried away by a mudslide. Comments in parenthesis added.

"It rained really hard for 12 days on Kula and the Kona wind (on Maui, a Kona wind means a wind from the South ) hit 100 mph blowing straight up from Kihei. The winds were in the 80MPH range up where we live. The power was out for 36 hours. (A neighbor), around the corner on Middle road has not had power or water since. A big mudslide came down (Keokea) Park and buried the water line under 20 feet of mud.

There are three little bridges lower down on Polipoli Road. A huge mudslide mixed with logs and branches and cars and trucks washed down into those
bridge gullies and plugged up the openings, overflowed over the road and
washed trucks and yards (away) and knocked some houses off their foundations.

One fellow left his Toyota pickup in his yard and when he woke up, the
Toyota was gone and his yard was gone. The pickup was found down the
hill, across Kula Highway under a mound of mud. Several of the new
homes in the Hawaiian Homes subdivision were knocked off their
foundations. The mud, trees, and water went through there at 12 foot high
and was still 3 foot high when it blew through Kihei (at the bottom of the mountain) to the Ocean.

Polipoli Road is closed. At every bridge there is a 20 ft deep gully, and yards missing and and houses damaged.

My neighbor lost most of his roof shingles. I'm so glad I enclosed the carport (last year). It would probably have flown away in an 80 MPH wind."


No fooling. In addition to the "extra tropical" storms that hit the US Northwest this week (I call them the "Thriller from Manila"), and Cyclone Daman which is winding its way through Fiji as I write this, Hawaii has had its own weird weather.

Blizzards on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes on the island of Hawaii are only a small part of the story, if an attention grabbing one. (Not that unusual, actually). On Maui, there were heavy downpours and strong winds which resulted in flooding and power outages.

One of my daughters reports from her relatively new home in Kula, Maui (a community on the slopes of Haleakala volcano):

"...the weather has been insane here. Not sure if you've heard anything there but we've had MASSIVE rain and flooding on Maui. Tuesday and Wednesday there was massive wind and pouring rain. The gulch below our house-which in the last year and a half has never even trickled with water- became a 25 foot wide raging stream-full sized trees were being swept down stream. No problems at all with our house ( we had great builders!) but Kula got hit hardest-one house got hit by flood water and lifted off it's slab and carried 100 yards away (this was about five miles away from us). The guy inside had to climb a cactus to get onto his roof-ouch! No words to describe-crazy.

"All of Kihei and Kula were out of power Wednesday early morning through Thursday late night. What an adventure!"

I should note here that the "great builders" she is referring to are her husband, his uncle (a building contractor) , father-in-law, and cousin , all of whom also built their previous home.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
-photo Matthew Thayer, Maui News. This is the house my daughter mentions which was moved 100 yards.

The power outages were due to the fact that high winds snapped several wooden power poles, which were designed for 85 mph winds, near a major power plant like the proverbial "match sticks".

A news video from KGMB television with some good pictures is here:

KGMB Maui Cleanup Continues.


ladybug said...

WOW! I'd heard some rumors from some other Hawaii bloggers, but it looks like they got hammered more than I realized...I hope they had flood insurance!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Speaking of the "thriller from Manila", my parents, who live on the Oregon coast, said that the storm mainly centered on the northern Oregon/southern Washington coastal areas. Astoria, Oregon (on the mouth of the Columbia River) clocked 128 mph winds. There was extensive flooding and power outages all over the place. Luckily for my parents the central Oregon coast wasn't hit as hard. Power was out for about a day and a half there and a few trees were knocked down here and there, but that was it. My parents were out of town at the time, and they say the cleanup was far less serious than it has been in the past. They did have trouble getting back, though, because the I-5 freeway, Highway 101 along the coast, and most of the main routes through the Coast Mountains were blocked by flooding and/or landslides.

It looks like Hawaii got it far worse, though. Ouch... I'm glad your daughter is okay.

QUASAR9 said...

Mazing how flimsy,
and resilient we are.

We are both mighty in deed and feats, yet we are no more than like ants or flies in the face of a great storm. Just as easily washed away, homes, cars et al.

QUASAR9 said...

What is more amazing is how we stay and rebuild, whether it be New Orleans, Bangladesh or Hawaii. By 'we' I am using the royal or generic 'we' since I've yet to be personally caught up in such a storm.

(S)wine, Inc. said...


bonnie said...

oh gosh, I'll have to look at the O'ahu news. Didn't get a chance to talk to my folks this weekend, had no idea.

A friend of mine in Oregon is waiting to find out if his beloved beach house still exists. He thinks it might because he says the emergency folks have been very good about getting word to those who have had damage.

Somehow hadn't heard a THING about Hawaii. Best wishes to them.

On a lighter note, I thought you might enjoy this post fun...

bonnie said...

Talked to the folks last night, they're fine although a tree just down the hill from them fell and somebody's car was under it (fortunately parked w/ no one in it).

Also glad your daughter is OK.

Hope they find the hiker. How awful to go to Hawaii and get lost in a blizzard.

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - one of my friends lost his car in the flooding, but some people lost their house and had major erosion of land. Don't know how you replace that on a steep mountainside.

Moody - glad they are safe and didn't come home to find damage.

Quasar 9 - like ants, we get washed away and rebuild. Why we keep building in dangerous areas is amazing, I agree.

(S)wine - yep. Thanks for the visit.

Bonnie - love the linked post. glad your folks are OK. Doesn't look good for that hiker. He just had light clothing on. Hawaii may be the tropics, but a 13796 foot tall mountain is still going to be cold at the top and somehow visitors just don't think about that. Sad story.

polipoli said...


Great post,

I really appreciated the video.

I still haven't heard how my place fared.


Pandabonium said...

Polipoli - I hope everything turns out to be OK. I would guess it would be knowing a bit about the topography of your place - especially not being next to a gulch. Too bad you can't get an overflight by plane - if I were still on island I'd do that for you and send you aerial pics.

Kimberley127 said...

My name is Kimberley and I live, well used to live, in the Kula area mentioned. My home was destroyed by the same flash flood that knocked the family in Hawaiian Homestead of the foundation. My family lost our home and everything we owned. This was a horrible act of nature and yet not enough to be considered a "federal" disaster. Not enough to receive any fiancial aid from our federal goverenment. Hopefully Maui residents, especially upcountry residents, will continue to pull together because it seems all we really have is each other. To anyone still needing assistance the Red Cross has unbelieveable volunteers that can reach out and help you. Let's pray for a less tramatic year, God knows me and my family need one.

Pandabonium said...

Kimberly 127 - I am sorry to hear about the loss of your home. I hope things work out for you and your family soon. Thank you for your comment.