Hawaii under state of emergency as winter storm brings ‘catastrophic’ weather conditions

Hawaii’s governor declared a state of emergency as a major winter storm left hundreds without power and threatened catastrophic flooding across the islands. In a statement, Hawaiian Gov. David Ige said he signed the emergency declaration as heavy rains from a “Kona low,” a type of seasonal cyclone in the Hawaiian Islands, were expected to “continue to cause flooding and damage” across the state.  The decision will allow Hawaii to use funds to provide “quick and efficient relief of suffering, damage, and losses caused by flooding and other effects of heavy rains.” Ige said the emergency relief period would run until at least Friday

The Oahu Department of Emergency Management reported cases of vehicle rescues, water evacuation requests, inundated homes and road closures, and images and videos from Twitter showed indoor flooding and cars and buses driving in and stranded in floodwater. While the threat of significant flooding had diminished in some parts of the islands, the possibility of “catastrophic flooding” was still a concern, with the “threats and impacts” of the storm “focused over the western half of the state.” The weather service said “numerous landslides” could occur in areas with steep terrain, while “many roads could become impassable due to severe runoff and flooding.”

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