Maui News

WEIRD WEATHER: OAHU TORNADO, UPCOUNTRY LIGHTING, PUKALANI POWER OUTAGE

February 12, 2009, 9:24 AM HST
* Updated February 12, 11:38 AM
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(Story by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

A period of heavy rains and thunderstorms, stuck to isolated areas of Maui yesterday afternoon.  While sunny skies were seen in Kahului, downpours were reported in the Upcountry and Maalaea areas.   At around 4 p.m. crews from Maui Electric Company were dispatched to troubleshoot a power outage in Pukalani; and county crews closed pools in both Pukalani and Kihei following reports of lighting at both locations.

On Oahu, a weak tornado made a brief but powerful touch down at the Kapolei Golf Course-reportedly injuring one employee, tearing tiles from the roof, and sending debris across the course.

Tornadoes are not common, but do occur in Hawaii.  Between January 1950 and October 2008, 37 tornadoes were reported in the state of Hawaii.  Prior to yesterday’s incident the last tornado reported in the islands occurred last year in a field northeast of the Lanai Airport on September 23rd.  No injuries or damages were reported.

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The most recent incident with damages occurred in 2006 when a small twister touched down at Kaumalapau Harbor on lanai, flipping over a construction trailer and carrying it about 10 feet.  The force also damaged an adjacent small building and snapped a power pole at the Harbor.

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Other Maui incidents occurred:  on April 22, 1967 and March 25, 2006.  The latter incident was reported in Haiku where a funnel cloud touched ground for a short time and lifted without causing any significant damage or injuries.

Information on such incidents is compiled by the National Climatic Data Center.

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