Heavy rains ease, res­cue ef­forts im­prove after storm belts Hawaii


HONOLULU — Heavy rains on Kauai let up on Mon­day, which helped emer­gency work­ers bet­ter res­cue peo­ple stranded by flood­ing on the Hawai­ian is­land.

Forty peo­ple, mostly tourists, were stuck since Satur­day night at a Red Cross shel­ter in an ele­men­tary school in the north shore town of Hanalei. Plans to air­lift them out of the school, which was sur­rounded by wa­ter, were aban­doned be­cause se­vere weather grounded he­li­copters, said Co­ralie Matayoshi, CEO of Amer­i­can Red Cross of Hawaii.

On Sun­day night, an­other 21 peo­ple made their way to the shel­ter on per­sonal wa­ter­craft and boats, she said. The shel­ter ear­lier had run out of food and wa­ter, but re­ceived ad­e­quate pro­vi­sions Sun­day, she said.

Hanalei Bridge was open only to emer­gency ve­hi­cles Mon­day, so one bus­load of peo­ple from the shel­ter was moved to an­other shel­ter, said Kauai County spokes­woman Sarah Blane. Ef­forts to move oth­ers out of the shel­ter were tem­po­rar­ily ham­pered by a land­slide on the high­way, she said.

There were no re­ports of ma­jor in­juries. At least two houses on the north shore com­pletely washed off their foun­da­tions, Blane said. The houses were va­cant, she said. Kauai Mayor Bernard Car­valho and Hawaii Gov. Da­vide Ige as­sessed dam­age and res­cue needs by he­li­copter on Mon­day, she said.

“The Hawaii Na­tional Guard was de­ployed yes­ter­day, and I am com­mit­ted to iden­ti­fy­ing and mo­bi­liz­ing ad­di­tional state as­sets needed to keep the com­mu­nity safe,” Ige said in a state­ment. “Now that the weather ap­pears to have cleared, our top pri­or­ity is to get to peo­ple who need med­i­cal at­ten­tion and re­lief sup­plies.”

Blane did not have a num­ber of res­cues that took place since Satur­day. “It’s def­i­nitely the worst storm in re­cent mem­ory,” Blane said.

Some res­i­dents said it was worse than Hur­ri­cane Iniki in 1992.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice recorded 28.1 inches (71.3 cen­time­tres) of rainfall in Hanalei be­tween 2 a.m. Satur­day and 2 a.m. Sun­day. The record for a 24hour pe­riod in Hanalei was set in 2012 at 28.54 inches (72.49 cen­time­tres). “It’s highly likely that the record was bro­ken by heavy rainfall after the gauge stopped record­ing,” said me­te­o­rol­o­gist Chevy Che­va­lier. The weather ser­vice is try­ing to fig­ure out why the gauge stopped record­ing, he said.

Mered­ith Zi­etz, who was still trapped in her Hanalei home Mon­day, posted video of a skit­tish bi­son as it dashed through her wa­ter­logged yard.

“It was amaz­ing. It looked scared though,” she said. She said she be­lieved it was from a buf­falo farm near the Hanalei River.

Nearby in Haena, James Hen­nessy ma­noeu­vred his flooded, murky street on a standup pad­dle­board to check on neigh­bours.

“We re­ally can’t go any­where,” he said, adding that he’s was grate­ful to have elec­tric­ity, even though there was no wa­ter or in­ter­net ser­vice.

Jeff Cul­ver­house, man­ager and part­ner of a Hanalei strip mall, was wish­ing for a hot shower as he pumped wa­ter out of el­e­va­tors Mon­day. Ev­ery shop in the mall was un­der 2 inches (5.08 cen­time­tres) of wa­ter and thick mud, he said, though the Big Save Mar­ket was open.

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