Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tornado Maui ( KHON Hawai News)

Tornado spotted in Maui
Reported by: Marisa Yamane
Last Update: 2/11 10:20 pm

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A storm system is dumping heavy rain on parts of our state, flooding roads and even spawning a tornado.

Luckily the tornado wasn't destructive, but it did make for an exciting day for some folks on Maui.

"I was shocked," said Maui resident Paul Weinstein.

Weinstein has a quite a story to tell, and the pictures to prove it.

"I was driving on Piilani Highway heading north, when I saw what appeared to me to be a tornado. When I first saw it it really looked to me like it had touched all the way down to the ground and by the time I turned on Mokulele Highway, I couldn't see the tornado any more," said Weinstein.

It touched down just after two o'clock this afternoon between Kihei and Kahului.

"Rarely do we see them touch down in Hawaii and it looks like there wasn't much damage associated so it was a weak funnel or tornado that touched down," said Derek Wroe, National Weather Service Lead Forecaster.

Wroe says the heavy showers combined with the right wind conditions created the tornado.

"We like to use analogy of figure skater, sometimes a little bit of spin can become quite violent or a lot of spin if you bring figure skaters arm in spin becomes more intense," said Wroe.

"It seemed enough in the distance that I was actually quite excited to get as close as I could," said Weinstein.

On Oahu a different kind of excitement.

"Look it's a big coconut!" said Kaeden Webster of Kailua.

Kaeden and brother Connor -- having fun watching the water move quickly downstream.

"They love the water," said their mother Amanda Webster.

It was raining so hard earlier --.look how full Kaelepulu Stream in Kailua got.

One foot higher, and the water might've overflowed into the Buzz's Steak House parking lot.

In fact, the water was a little higher earlier in the afternoon, but crews helped break open the sand barrier that was separating Kaelepulu Stream from Kailua Beach.

"And once it started to open the force of the water started shooting out. You can see the rip tide and it's dramatic really," said Eric Matchette and Valerie Trapa, visitors from Colorado.

The heavy rain also created a mini stream across Kapaa Quarry Road in Windward Oahu, near the transfer station.

And all that green stuff on the road came from the marsh.

From afar the water didn't look too deep but there's a dip in the road.

This police SUV was able to make it through using four wheel drive.

Police blocked off the road as a precaution, and re-opened it just after seven tonight.

The National Weather service also confirmed there was a funnel cloud in the Halawa area today.

The reason it's not being called a tornado is because it didn't touch down