HONOLULU — As the first tropical storm to hit Hawaii in 22 years passed by the islands, some coffee farmers on the Big Island navigated flooded roads to assess damage to their crops Friday while residents and tourists wandered the beaches of Oahu and surfers took to the waves as wind and rain let up.
The first storm in a one-two punch bound for Hawaii clamored ashore overnight Friday as a weakened tropical storm. A second system behind it also weakened and was on track to pass well north of the islands early Sunday.
Tropical Storm Iselle knocked out power, caused flooding and downed trees when it crossed onto the Big Island in a rural and sparsely populated region. There have been no reports of major injuries, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Friday.
Those staying in shelters were told to return home, while crews and some residents used chain saws to clear trees from roads.
Heavy rains and wind from the storm's outer bands hit Maui and Oahu on Friday morning but eased later in the day as Iselle swirled farther out to sea.
On Oahu's south shore, near Honolulu, the cloudy skies started to give way to patches of blue as tourists and residents ventured out to see the surf.
"We've never seen the water crash into the rocks the way they are. It's just beautiful," said Army Sgt. Steven Reyes, who drove to the coast with his mother after his home on a central Oahu Army base lost power.
Honolulu's lifeguard division said about a dozen surfers were riding waves Friday at a spot nicknamed "Suicides," near the popular Diamond Head crater. Lifeguards on Oahu planned only to respond to emergency calls, avoiding regular patrols.
The National Weather Service canceled the tropical storm warning for the Big Island, Oahu and Maui on Friday afternoon, but kept it in effect for Kauai.
Even then, the National Park Service said it would keep its popular memorial sites at Pearl Harbor in Oahu closed through Saturday as staff keeps an eye on Hurricane Julio.