The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

July 30, 2013

Flossie leaving Hawaii weaker than when storm came

(Continued)

Weather officials said a downgraded Flossie could still cause outages and road closures, with wind gusts up to 40 mph through mountain passes.

The downgrade came before Flossie hit Oahu. With the depression still a few hours away, emergency officials dealt with a high number of accidents — including six within an hour on one road connecting the eastern side of the island with the main part of Honolulu.

Darren Pai, spokesman for Hawaiian Electric Company, said about 4,500 people were without power on the Big Island on Monday night as the utility responded to multiple outages that started in the late morning. Another roughly 2,000 people lost power in Kihei, Maui, but were restored. Other outages were reported in Hana and Piiholo before being restored, Pai said.

Flossie faded through the morning thanks to winds that broke layers of the storm apart, said Tom Evans, acting director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Warnings about the storm didn't stop some tourists from heading to popular beaches, despite urgings from state officials to cancel all beach trips until further notice. In Waikiki, beaches were unusually sparse as those outside contended with overcast skies and rain ahead of Flossie's arrival.

Kelly Tarkington, a college student from Savannah, Ga., got a sunburn from spending eight hours on the beach Sunday but had to take refuge from the rain under a beach umbrella Monday along with her aunt.

"I'm mostly worried about our flight out of here tomorrow night," Tarkington said.

Residents and government officials spent the weekend preparing for the storm's arrival. In addition to the closures, shelters opened statewide.

The U.S. Coast Guard closed three ports — two on the Big Island where the storm was expected first, and a third port on Maui. Airports statewide were open Monday but many flights were being canceled.

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