HONOLULU — His generator whirring at top speed, Gene Lamkin used rain captured from Tropical Storm Iselle to wash his hair as he and thousands of others in a rural swath of the Big Island remained in the dark and unable to traverse roads blocked by toppled trees.
"It's like camping right now," Lamkin said from a cellphone he charged using a generator after his electricity failed Thursday night. "We're using water from our catchment system to bathe ourselves, shampoo our hair — trying to remain in a civilized manner." Lamkin knows life in the isolated, jungle-like Puna region, where unpaved roads of volcanic rock are not maintained by the county, means being prepared for the worst. Puna, home to about 40,000 people, has spent a day and a half without electricity as a second storm, Hurricane Julio, lingered hundreds of miles off the coast.
The National Weather Service on Saturday night downgraded Hurricane Julio to a Category 1, the lowest level. Julio's winds have weakened to about 90 mph, said Sam Houston, a forecaster with the weather service in Honolulu. Julio was expected to pass roughly 250 miles northeast of Maui Sunday and linger through the night, the weather service said.
On the island of Kauai, rescuers found the body Saturday of a 19-year-old woman believed to have been swept away in a stream while hiking Friday in a closed state park during a tropical storm warning.
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