In Emergency Response, Kauai Division, Public Health

Much thanks to the UPW Members, including those with the County Department Of Transportation and Department of Water. Between cleaning up at home, they are working long days to restore basic infrastructure on Kauai.

By Nelson Darangciang & Rob Shikina; Star-Advertiser; April 16, 2018

Heavy downpours walloped Kauai on Sunday, generating flash floods that pushed houses off foundations and stranded about 40 evacuees at a Red Cross shelter in Hanalei.

The north shore of Kauai was cut off from the rest of the island as high water made the Hanalei Bridge impassable.

Gov. David Ige issued an emergency declaration, and damage appeared to be extensive — if not unprecedented — but as of Sunday evening there were no reports of injuries.

The American Red Cross said that as of noon Sunday there were about 40 people in its shelter at Hanalei Elementary School. Red Cross officials were to take another count at midnight.

Hawaii Chapter CEO Coralie Chun Mata­yoshi said the shelter, which is surrounded by water, ran out of food at 10:30 a.m. and ran out of water at 2:30 p.m. She said county officials were able to deliver donated food and water to the shelter at about 6 p.m.

The Red Cross opened another evacuation shelter at Koloa Elementary School because multiple homes had flooded and rescue operations were ongoing in the Wailiaau Road area.

Kuhio Highway, between Waikoko and Wainiha, and between Princeville and the Hanalei Bridge, was closed due to flooding. Hanalei Plantation Road in Princeville was also closed, due to a sinkhole.

Kapaa Bypass Road and Kuhio Highway near the Wailua Golf Course and at Kahiliholo Road were closed temporarily.

Westbound traffic on Kaumualii Highway was being directed onto Maluhia and Lawai roads due to flooding. Eastbound motorists were advised to proceed with extreme caution.

County officials said state Department of Transportation crews were using one southbound lane of the Wailua Bridge to remove debris from the Wailua River. Both of the northbound lanes are open.

The state Department of Education says Hanalei Elementary School will be closed today and that no school buses will be operating in Hanalei, Wainiha or Haena for students who attend Kapaa Middle School and Kapaa High School.

Twenty-four rainfall figures had reached 27 inches Sunday in Hanalei and nearly 20 inches in Wainiha. As of 3:30 p.m. the Kalihiwai Reservoir had reached near capacity. As a safety precaution, county officials evacuated Kalihiwai Valley along Kalihiwai Valley Road and near Kalihiwai Stream.

By 7:35 p.m. Sunday the National Weather Service said radar indicated that rainfall had diminished in intensity, with mainly light rainfall, less than a half-inch per hour, occurring over the interior of the island. Still, the weather service extended the flash flood warning for the island until 10:45 p.m., followed by a flash flood watch in effect at least through 6 a.m. today.

Severe flooding and mudslides destroyed two homes Saturday night along Wainiha Powerhouse Road. The Kauai Emergency Management Agency said the homes were vacant.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative had continued to report spotty power outages from Kilauea to Lawai and extended outages from Hanalei to Haena.

The Kauai Department of Water was asking Hanalei customers to collect rainwater for nonpotable water needs because repair crews were placed on standby because of the weather, road closures and flooding.

Ige said the Hawaii National Guard and emergency responders from Honolulu were preparing to help Kauai with search and rescue operations as crews cleared landslides from Kuhio Highway. So far, no one has been reported missing.

Helicopters that might have helped in evacuation efforts were grounded Sunday due to the severe weather, which included mid­afternoon thunderstorms.

The deluge on Kauai came as East Oahu residents were cleaning up from floods Friday, when Wailupe Stream overflowed at Kalanianaole Highway.

About a dozen homes on Papai Street were damaged when a coconut tree became stuck beneath the bridge and sent water up the bank and into homes in the area.

Shauna Tuohy was watching TV with her 90-year-old mother, Thalia, in their Papai Street home when it started raining heavily Friday night. At about 8:30 p.m. water suddenly began pouring into her house from a window in the back.

“It just inundated both sides of the house,” she said. Water was already past her ankles when she and her mother, who uses a walker, got to the door.

She said her brother Peter came home at the same time and picked up their mother at the door and carried her on his shoulder through the water to the garage. Others helped carry her to the street, which was still above water.

The family has been staying at the home of relatives since Friday. On Sunday, friends and family were helping clean out mud from the three-bedroom home, and piles of furniture and household items sat in the yard.

Dwight Perkins of Papai Street said 12 homes on the street were hit by the flooding stream.

On Sunday afternoon the Red Cross was visiting homes that reported damage in Aina Hina and Waimanalo, said volunteer Ron Matayoshi. Volunteers were delivering cleanup kits that contained mops, tarps, buckets and cleaning solution.

The downpours were the result of an upper-level low to the west of the state that tapped deep moisture, the weather service said. As the upper-level low slowly moves away today and Tuesday, the tradewind flow will gradually stabilize, causing rainfall to focus along windward slopes, the agency said.

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