Disaster declaration signed for Kauai as flooding strikes a nerve for rural residents

Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 4:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Scenes of flooding Tuesday brought back unnerving memories for residents on Kauai’s North Shore this week.

Homes and roads in the rural areas of Wainiha, Haena and Hanalei were flooded after Kauai got several inches of rain over the last few days. It prompted road closures of Kuhio Highway at the Hanalei Bridge, and also left behind a muddy mess triggering landslides and severe erosion.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami signed a disaster declaration Wednesday to free up emergency funds in response to the flooding.

Drone video from Wainiha showed the severity of flooding overnight.

Residents who live in the North Shore community know all too well how just how powerful an impact severe weather can have. Those who have lived through previous storms say they get nervous when rain comes down hard.

“It’s gotten to the point where its pretty similar,” said Haena resident Jessica Lindmann. “Maybe not as bad as the 2018 floods, which in and of itself causes different levels of anxiety for residents in this area. It just needs to stop.”

The 2018 floods in which Lindmann referred to drastically changed the face of world-famous Hanalei.

County and state crews have since completed upgrades and improvements at the pier as well as Haena State Park. But heavy rains still manage to cut off residents from time to time.

As of 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Kauai remained under a flash flood advisory as showers and thunderstorms rolled in.

Problems were also reported over on the island’s east side near the old Coco Palms Resort in Wailua. There, erosion caused damage to the bike path and parking lot. Debris also covered the shoreline at Wailua Beach.

Over a 48-hour period, the National Weather Service reported the following Kauai rainfall totals:

  • Mount Waialeale: 10.87 inches
  • Kilohana: 6.26 inches
  • North Wailua Ditch: 5.99 inches
  • Kalaheo: 4.32 inches

This story will be updated.

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