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Hawaii declares state of emergency as storm leaves hundreds without power

The "Kona low," a type of seasonal cyclone, was expected to "continue to cause flooding and damage" across the state.
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Hawaii's governor declared a state of emergency as a major storm left hundreds of customers without power and threatened "catastrophic flooding" across the islands.

In a statement posted Monday on Twitter, 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, he said, would 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.

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Hundreds of customers were left without power as roads were flooded and trees were downed across the Hawaiian Islands.

A strong storm packing high winds and extremely heavy rain flooded roads and downed power lines and tree branches in Honolulu. Caleb Jones / AP

In a statement just after 10 p.m. Monday local time, Hawaiian Electric said crews were still working to restore electric service to "hundreds of customers" in downtown Honolulu and Chinatown.

However, it said that "because of the continued heavy rains," power is not likely to be restored until Tuesday morning at the earliest.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu said the Kona low continued to "bring the threat of heavy rain to Kauai County and Oahu" overnight Monday and through Tuesday.

While the weather service said the "threat of significant flooding" had diminished in some parts of the islands, it said 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."

It added that the storm could also create "dangerous driving conditions due to near zero visibility."

A number of schools were closed across the state Monday, and Hawaii County Mayor Mitchell Roth declared a state of emergency Sunday “due to the threat of imminent disaster.”

The Honolulu Fire Department said Monday that it rescued five boys, ages 9 to 10, from a raging stream.

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Sheldon Hao said at a news conference that crews had responded to dozens of "storm-related events," including downed trees, arcing wires and roadway obstructions.

A car turns onto a flooded street Monday in Honolulu. Marco Garcia / AP

He said his team remains vigilant, particularly after heavy rain in March caused damaging floods and a landslide in March. The storm caused a landslide on the island of Kauai.

Ige also issued an emergency declaration in that storm, which put the state on alert for future weather events.