HANALEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - New video captures what some Kauai residents call the worst flooding they've ever seen. A deluge that prompted evacuations, road closures and rescues in the small town of Hanalei.
Up to 17 inches of rain drenched Hanalei in 24 hours Friday and Saturday. Too much for the Hanalei river to handle, which overflowed and sent floodwaters rushing through the valley.
Alex Reinprecht, who was stranded when the bridge closed, captured the video.
"We actually went to the roadblock to talk to police to see what was going on and as we were talking to them in a matter of three minutes the river must have risen three feet," said Reinprecht, a photographer with Hawaii Extreme Sports.
Alex was told to evacuate, but before he did, he documented the damage around Wilcox Estates and Weke road.
"The water level came up so fast people were really surprised. People were stuck in the road, stuck in their homes and no one knew how much farther the water would rise."
He says it got up to 8 feet deep in some places. Some used paddle boards to get to safety. In all, 17 people were rescued by boat.
"I have never seen a flash flood to that extent in Hawaii and neither did the locals all the people that lived there said this was the strongest flash flood they'd ever seen," said Reinprecht.
Weatherman Dan Cooke demonstrated with a before and after picture, just how bad the flooding was.
"When someone mentions Hanalei Valley this is the image that comes to mind, beautiful lush Hanalei valley but this is what it looked like about 1 o' clock in the afternoon Saturday," said Cooke.
The damage was widespread. Farms in the valley took a big hit. Poi production is expected to suffer... with a shortage anticipated down the road..
By now the floodwaters have receded, but video like this will have lifeguards telling stories about the day water covered everything, but left some fish high and dry
"They were taking care of dinner, catching some fish in the middle of the road we saw some papio, we saw some Mullets, recalled Reinprecht.