Tropical storm warning cancelled for Big Island; heavy rainfall still possible

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Motorist drive through water and mud over Highway 19 from a landslide Saturday morning near mile marker 6 in Hilo.

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.

Multiple road closures are in effect from Puna through Hamakua.

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According to Hawaii County, travel restrictions are in effect for Highway 19 at Laupahoehoe Gulch, Maulua Gulch, mile marker 19, mile marker 15.5 and mile marker 11.

A landslide is blocking traffic on Old Mamalahoa Highway near Onomea.

Highway 11 also is closed at mile markers 11, 15 and 18. Highway 11 near Volcano is restricted to one lane of traffic.

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Hawaii Island is no longer under a tropical storm warning, but it’s not completely out of the woods.

As of Saturday morning, a flash flood warning and high surf advisory remained in effect for windward areas as Tropical Storm Lane slowly moves away. A flash flood watch will be in effect until Sunday morning, unless conditions change.

Hilo bayfront remains flooded and closed to traffic.

Highway 11 also was closed at mile marker 15, while Highway 19 was reduced to one lane at Laupahoehoe Gulch as of 5:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense. Numerous secondary roads also are closed in windward areas.

Kazuo Todd, Hawaii Fire Department battalion chief, said there have been 39 rescues in the past 24 hours.

He said about half of the rescues or assists are from people trapped in homes, while some were stranded in vehicles. The National Guard helped the department rescue people from three vehicles in Hawaiian Acres.

Todd said the department is performing aerial surveys, and is checking on two homes in Hawaiian Acres that may have been destroyed.

A 35-man search and rescue team also is en route from Oahu, he said.

As of 8 a.m., Lane was 235 miles west of Hilo moving northwest at 3 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

The National Weather Service said Lane will move slowly northward Saturday morning and then turn west with an increase in forward speed.

“However, regardless of the storm’s track, life threatening flash flooding and gusty winds will continue to extend far beyond the center’s location,” the weather service said. “Do not focus on the exact forecast track or intensity of Lane.”

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The potential for more excessive rainfall remains high.

On the windward side, 20 to 30 inches of rain has fallen over some areas, with a few exceeding 40 inches during this storm event.

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