Disaster declaration to speed Hawaii cleanup
By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Mike Leidemann
Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday signed a state disaster proclamation to help counties and communities recover from storm damage. On Maui, officials said they'll seek help from the state and federal government to deal with storm-related problems.
Skies cleared over much of the state yesterday, but the effects of last week's high winds, heavy rains and flooding continued to be felt.
The state proclamation opens the way for the National Guard and other agencies to provide assistance to people whose homes and businesses suffered damage in the storm, the governor's office said. Assistance could include personal and commercial loans, officials said.
Meanwhile, Hawaiian Electric Co. crews continued work to restore power to more than 300 customers, some of whom have been without electricity since the storm began affecting parts of O'ahu late Tuesday night.
"Unfortunately, those customers still out are likely going to have to endure another night without power," said Lynne Unemori, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate relations. In the worst cases, power might not be restored to some "pocket" areas until tomorrow, HECO said.
"We sincerely apologize for what they've had to deal with," Unemori said.
In all, about 340 customers in areas scattered from Hawai'i Kai to Wai'anae remained without service late yesterday afternoon.
On Maui, county officials were still working yesterday on damage estimates from the storm and looking at its impact on Lana'i and Moloka'i, as well as remote rural areas such as Kaupo and Kahikunui.
County spokeswoman Mahina Martin said Maui would seek a disaster declaration and aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The National Weather Service said skies should be partly cloudy with possible scattered showers today and tomorrow, with a 30 percent chance of rain.
Although the front that brought the storm to the state last week was continuing to move rapidly away from the islands, the Weather Service said a flash flood watch for all islands would remain in effect until at least 6 this morning because more showers, combined with already-saturated ground, could pose a threat of flash flooding.
Reach Mike Leidemann at email@example.com.