By Jeff King
UPDATE: A wind-felled tree in Kula around 11 a.m. knocked out power in the area – asgain. MECO remedied the situation and power has been restored to all in the area as of 2:30 p.m. today)
First responders are finally getting a breather after a fast-moving (at times up to 55 mph) storm strafed the islands over the first weekend of 2015 – halting water and power to thousands across Maui County. As of 9:47 a.m. Monday, all water customers in Maui County had been restored to full water pressure. The culprit – high winds that downed trees and power lines – knocked out power to nearly half of the County’s water pumping stations over the weekend.
Then, “from above,” somebody had to remove those blown limbs and install/fortify/check/re-check safe utility wire installations and operations in Maui County. Maui Electric Company crews seemed to be everywhere.
The all-too-familiar sight across the county – primarily in Upcounty portions of Maui as well as east end Moloka’i – brought out brave men and women to restore power. As of late Monday, East Maui customers had all been re-lit and only pockets of Olinda and Pi’iholo regions were still in the dark. From Nahiku to Oheo Gulch crews wrapped up repairs Monday and all efforts are now focused on bringing back online the remaining customers. As of this morning, that count is down to fewer than 100. After the storm hit, the original “powerless” totaled more than 11,500.
Mahalo nui loa to the tireless crews who worked their hardest to “bring us all back.”