Maui County Experiences Storm-Related Incidents and Closures

(Maui of County Press Release)

WAILUKU (KHNL) --  Maui County officials are monitoring the impact of high winds and rain that affected numerous areas of Maui, Molokai and Lanai Wednesday. County shelters are on standby; official notice will be issued if shelters are opened to the public.

County Environmental Management officials announced that a wastewater overflow of unknown quantity occurred at 6 a.m. Wednesday in Napili, due to a broken air relief valve at Napili Pump Station No. 2. The overflow occurred on Lower Honoapiilani Road in Honokowai; wastewater flowed from the pump station to the ocean via a runoff area at the beach park known as "S Turn." Repairs are ongoing; the State Dept. of Health has been notified. Warning signs could not be posted today because of storm conditions; they will be posted as soon as weather permits.

Island-wide, ocean safety officials reported that shoreline waters were extremely dirty and muddy with heavy debris floating. At Kamaole Beach Park II, water runoff from the road was threatening the foundation of the life guard tower. Ocean safety officers reported two kayakers in Kaanapali were in distress. The kayakers managed to make it to shore on their own after losing one kayak. In Lahaina, a sailboat moored outside of Lahaina Harbor was reported to have sunk.

All of West Maui and residents in Maui Meadows and on Molokai are asked to conserve water; power outages caused by high winds have made it difficult to maintain safe water levels in storage tanks, and the Department of Water Supply urges customers in those areas to use water only as needed for health and safety purposes in order to extend the supply available.

In Kihei, the Maui County Parks Department reported two incidents of trees falling on vehicles, with one incident involving two cars at Kalama Park; occupants evacuated the cars on their own accord, and were transported to the hospital by ambulance. Trees were also down with no injuries at Cove Park and at Kamaole Point. Also in Kihei, a boat was reported to be washed up at the south end of Kalama Park before Cove Park.

As of 12:45 p.m., the following roads were reported closed: Lower Honoapiilani Hwy. in Lahaina, in the area of Honokowai to Napili, due to trees and flooding; Pulehu Road between Omaopio and Holopuni Roads, due to large tumbleweeds; Ulumalu Road in Haiku, below the area known as Five Corners, due to trees and wire on the road; and in Kahului, the intersection of South Puunene and Wakea Avenues is closed due to flooding, with four vehicles stranded in the high water. A&B officials reportedly closed the Paia mini-bypass for the rest of the day due to flooding.

Debris and ponding has been reported on roads throughout the county. In Lahaina, visibility was very poor this morning with localized flooding; drivers are asked to avoid traveling to or from Lahaina if at all possible.

"With constantly changing weather conditions and hazards created by high surf, high winds and flooding, it is imperative that people make wise decisions, remain safe and stay vigilant," said Mayor Charmaine Tavares, who is monitoring the situation at the county's Emergency Operating Center at Civil Defense. "Everyone should take necessary precautions and look out for each other during this period of uncertainty. I advise both residents and visitors to stay out of harm's way by avoiding traveling on roadways unless absolutely necessary."

County bus schedules were suspended by dangerous driving conditions earlier today; service was scheduled to resume at 1:30 p.m. except for routes in South Maui, which has ceased operations for the rest of the day.

All county parks and recreational facilities are closed today, and may re-open tomorrow on a case-by-case basis, depending on damage reports and weather conditions.

All landfills and county recycling facilities are now closed. Several county departments also have closed for the day, and may reopen tomorrow if conditions allow. The closures reported thus far: Department of Housing and Human Concerns, the Kuhao Business Center on Molokai, and DMV satellite offices in Lahaina, Pukalani, Kihei and on Lanai.

Power outages have been reported throughout South Maui, Kula, Pukalani and Makawao, and in pockets of Central and West Maui. Power in South Maui is expected to be out until at least midnight as MECO crews repair primary transmission lines that feed power from Maalaea to Kihei and Wailea. Kula repairs are currently being affected by numerous downed trees, electric lines and poles.

Public Works crews are concentrating on clearing debris, trees and branches on roads in the Kula, Olinda and Piiholo areas. Wailuku district has reported problems with dead wiliwili trees, especially on Malaihi Road. Crews were working yesterday and last night ahead of the storm to trim the tops of dead trees, and make pothole repairs. Other crews in the South Maui area worked to clear channel mouths of streams and gulches yesterday to attempt to mitigate potential flooding of roads and homes. Public Works reported trees down on Alu Road, South Kihei Road, and Makena Road; crews in Hana are dealing with debris and tree branches on the roads.

Maui Community College announced that classes were cancelled and the campus closed due to hazardous weather conditions.

At Kahului Harbor, Matson reported that it ceased yard and container operations for the day.