KALIHIWAI, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - This is the story of a mom, a grandmother, two young children — and their will to survive.
When heavy rains flooded Kalihiwai, Lea Weldon knew she didn't have much time to react.
"At like about 415, 420, the water started to rise," she said.
Weldon is a single mother of two-year-old twins. Her mother, Janey Kanter, lives next door to them.
She said when they tried to leave their homes early that morning, the floodwaters were already halfway up her car door.
"Just praying, 'God, please keep us safe, just protect us and guide us and surround us with golden light,' and then the water started to rise in my mom's house," Weldon said.
Weldon said her mom quickly moved to her home, which was only about a foot and a half higher.
"I was looking out the window when the lightning was flashing to see how high the water was and I saw the other house on the property floating down," she said.
Lea says her daughter, Kawehi, has several severe heart conditions and her mother is nearly 70 years old. She knew they needed to escape, but she didn't know how.
"I had my boy, I turned on the flashlight on my phone so I could look and see and make sure no debris was gonna come. I stepped down on the back of the back porch and the water was about chest high."
She said the plan was to take one child through and go back for mom and the other one.
"I made it through the other side I knocked on the neighbor's door I was like, 'Hello! Hello!' They were gone already, they had evacuated. I put my son down inside. I turned around and my mom was right behind me with my daughter," said Weldon.
"Good thing because she wouldn't have made it back," said Kanter.
The four of them all made it out safely. But their home is completely destroyed. The waterline showing how high the floodwaters were is chest high and the foundation to the home buckled.
Although they have no place to live, they say they are just grateful they still have each other.
"When that kind of thing happens, you're full of adrenaline, especially when you're a mom or a grandma, you have superhuman mom power that can get you to do anything,"Weldon said.
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This story may be updated.