Maui News

Hawaiian Electric Shares Storm Prep and Tree Maintenance Tips

July 30, 2021, 2:59 PM HST
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Seven years ago, Tropical Storm Iselle impacted the Hawaiian Islands, becoming the third strongest and third costliest tropical cyclone in the state’s history, according to Hawaiian Electric.

Company arborists say fallen trees – particularly the invasive albizia species – took down utility lines, damaged homes and blocked roadways.

“It grows so fast, about 12 to up to 20 feet a year that it doesn’t have time to put on its reaction wood or for the wood to compress. So you get these really long branches that grow in size really, really quickly on weak wood, on weak attachments,” said Desiree Page, Hawaiian Electric system arborist. “I highly recommend that people become familiar with what it looks like when it’s small… And get rid of them, pull them out of the yard, pull them up by the root whenever you see ’em. And if you have a large one in your in your yard, start working on getting rid of it.”

Although none of the storms that have developed in the Pacific during the first two months of the 2021 hurricane season have posed a threat to the islands, Hawaiian Electric vegetation management crews remain on alert. They work year-round, inspecting trees along our power lines, looking for anything that could become a problem in windy and stormy weather.

“Preventative maintenance is the best and that’s all year round. Keep your trees free of dead wood. Keep your trees free of structural defects,” said Page. “If there’s debris on the ground try to get that cleaned up or secured down If you can, garden tools, and just make sure there’s nothing that can become a projectile.”

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NOAA predicts a near-or below-normal 2021 Central Pacific hurricane season with 2-5 Tropical Cyclones. The information was shared as part of the annual Season Outlook, which calls for an 80% chance of a near or below normal season. The Central Pacific hurricane season began on June 1 and runs through November 30.

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