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Puna gets pounded with rain and lit-up by lightning

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Firefighters build an embankment to divert floodwaters away from a home in Ainaloa subdivision on Pukalani Street. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

Firefighters build an embankment to divert floodwaters away from a home in Ainaloa subdivision on Pukalani Street. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

Baron Sekiya and Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7

UPDATED: 9:40 p.m Saturday, Dec. 19

Lightning storms above Hilo and Puna played havoc with power lines Saturday, as HELCO crews scrambled to respond to a series of outages.

There is no time estimate for when power might be restored to specific areas.

By 9 p.m., crews were focusing on Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Leilani Estates and pockets of outages in Hilo.

A HELCO spokesman said the lightning strikes began overnight and the storms continued to move back and forth between Upper Puna, Lower Puna and Hilo for most of Saturday.

The county Fire Department was assisting HELCO crews in identifying outages and getting power back up. However, crews are unable to work when lightning is in the area.

No injuries were reported to HELCO personnel.

The spokesman said at times during Saturday and into the evening, power was reported interrupted in: Orchidland, Mountain View, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Fern Acres, Hawaiian Acres and all across Hilo.

The spokesman said HELCO apologized for any inconvenience and crews would continue to work through the night.

To report outages or interruptions, call the HELCO hotline at 969-6666.

Emergency crews were kept busy as a huge rain and electrical storm hit East Hawaii with flooding and lightning strikes Saturday (Dec 19).

The rainstorm hit Ainaloa subdivision hard with ponding and debris on the roadways making it hazardous for drivers. Homes were threatened with flooding as fire/rescue crews assisted residents in protecting houses from the run-off.

Numerous lightning strikes were seen in Puna as power remains out in several areas for hours.

At least two structure fires occurred during the storm. One on 16th Avenue between Makuu and Paradise in Hawaiian Paradise Park and another on 9th Road in Hawaiian Acres.

Hawaii County Civil Defense issued the following bulletin at 6:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Hawai’i County. A Flash Flood Warning means that flash flooding is imminent or already occurring. Currently, heavy rains are bieng reorted in the districts of Hilo, Hamakua, and Puna. The NWS forecasts rains to continue through the evening. Due to the flash flood warning the following are issued: All motorists are asked to drive with caution and be on the alert for debris, runoff, and ponding of water. All highways are open at this time, but be aware that road closures and slowdowns can occur without any warning. Heavy rains are occuring in Puna, Hilo, and Hamakua. All residents in flood prone areas are asked to be on the alert and prepare for possible flooding conditions. If lightning is affecting your area, the safest palce to be is indoors. Power outages are being reported in Puna and Hilo. Crews are responding.

More photos and video to come.

Emergency vehicles at the scene of a structure fire in Hawaiian Beaches subdivision. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

Emergency vehicles at the scene of a structure fire in Hawaiian Acres subdivision. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

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