HONOLULU (KHON2) — Strong wind conditions kept first responders busy Wednesday, March 8, dealing with weather impacts across Oahu.
The Honolulu Fire Department said that as of Wednesday afternoon crews were responding to 20 downed trees, 13 blown roofs and five downed power lines.
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Meanwhile, traffic signal outages and even downed freeway signs caused a mess on the roads.
The blustery conditions sent overhead signs on Kalanianaole Highway flying down.
A driver traveling westbound near Ainakoa Drive captured the moments police arrived on scene. Nearby residents said they’re glad no one was injured.
“If something is going to fall down onto the roadway or an area where the sidewalk has a lot of kids walking, I hope they do what they got to do to secure it or make it stronger,” said Erin Volentine, an East Honolulu resident.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation said the overhead signs were just replaced three years ago.
“What we’ve always done in the past to ensure that we have good connections, we use oversize washers for all those connections,” said Ed Sniffen, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director.
“We don’t believe that an oversize washer was put on in this area. So, we’re making sure that we inspect all of our 150 overhead signs on Oahu to ensure that washer situation is there,” added Sniffen.
Meanwhile, trees came down in Kailua with large branches snapping off. A tree on Hamakua Street even lifted up the concrete sidewalk.
“That took roots and all; so, that’s kind of scary,” said Samuel DeGre, Big City Diner Kailua General Manager.
Employees at Big City Diner next door saw the whole incident happen.
“The tree just slowly started to crash over and pull up the whole sidewalk with it. All you could hear was a little bit of a crack and then the fence,” DeGre said.
DeGre said, they’re not taking any chances. The restaurant spent the morning making preparations for potential damage from the strong winds.
“It’s broken a couple tops of the planters, and we moved some of the big tents over there to that side. So, they won’t continue to fall down; and hopefully, the windbreak keeps that from happening,” said DeGre.
“We also closed our bar gate because the wind was shooting right through the restaurant. We lost power about two or three times and had to reboot all the systems,” added DeGre.
The Department of Parks and Recreations’ Urban Forestry crews responded to 35 tree-related emergencies. Hawaiian Electric said it saw a high number of outages across oahu. That impacted many traffic signals, causing some inconvenience for residents.
“Didn’t see any lights or signifiers, and we couldn’t tell what was going on. So, we decided to try a different spot,” said Tyler Hickman, a Kailua resident.
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As strong winds continue, HECO is warning the public to be aware of potential threats for downed power lines. If there are downed poles or lines, stay 30 feet away and call 911.