Honolulu Suffers Major Power Outage as Obama Visits
By Vanessa Kaneshiro / Honolulu Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008
A lightning strike just after sunset in Hawaii has apparently pulled the plug on most of the island of Oahu, where President-elect Barack Obama and his family are vacationing. One power plant continued to operate and parts of the island?s western sector continued to have electricity. The compound where the Obamas are residing in an $11 million home is reported to have a power generator. But the rest of the island, including the state capital Honolulu, was plunged into darkness and confusion.
The power stopped at about 7:30 p.m. Traffic lights stopped operating; cars were jammed at intersections; cordless phones ceased operating; panicking residents flooded 911. Most islanders received news by way of car or battery-operated radios, which included Japanese-languageannouncements to keep tourists informed of developments. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said over the radio that power would not be fully restored for at least 12 hours. After a recent earthquake that affected Hawaii's largest city, it took two days before electricity came back completely.