Flooding blindsided many. But with aloha, neighbors helped each other through it

The city has lifted the evacuation order for Haleiwa residents, but authorities warn of the possibility of more flooding.
Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 10:58 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Forecasts did anticipate the possibility of heavy showers around Hawaii this week — but no one predicted just how bad it would be.

Areas prone to flooding, and even those that have never faced evacuation orders, were hit extra hard in Tuesday’s storm. It was the especially the case on Oahu’s windward side.

Residents who live near Kahana Bay took matters into their own hands to prepare as they know from experience just how bad it can get.

Neighbors rushed with shovels in hand to dig a trench in the sand to direct water from the valley out to the ocean.

“If we no do this, 2 to 3 feet of water is inside our homes,” resident Lena said.

In Hauula, muddy water made Kamehameha Highway impassable, and in Laie the Polynesian Cultural Center looked more like a floating island within itself.

Over in Waialua, there was an act of kindness from a family who saw the chance to help evacuees.

The Nahinu family knew many Haleiwa residents were waiting hours into the night in the parking lot of Waialua High just to return home. They decided to lend a helping hand and offer free meals.

Kind neighbors offered free meals to evacuees at Waialua High's parking lot.
Kind neighbors offered free meals to evacuees at Waialua High's parking lot.(HNN)

“We live over here, it’s not in the evacuation zone. We heard that there were a bunch of people here, and ... we just felt that they needed something to eat because they can’t go home and there’s not a lot of restaurants ope. So we just decided to make spaghetti for them,” Waialua resident Lilinoe Nahinu said.

They also offered up food to first responders at the evacuation site.

For Haleiwa residents, most took the warnings seriously.

″I’ve been working in Haleiwa for seven years. The flood warning I have experienced a couple of them, so most of the time it was alright I mean nothing happened, but we did prepare,” manager of the Haleiwa L&L Drive-In Hao Chang said.

Others saw first-hand just how quickly the waters rose.

“Came over here to check on my boat which is on a trailer over here at my friend’s house, and I was going to pull the boat out with my truck. Within 5 mins it was already two feet and within 20 this is how high it got,” resident Tom Rodewald said.

The evacuation lasted well into the night Tuesday with no word on when it would be safe for Haleiwa residents to go home.

The rain left behind a muddy mess on neighbor islands as well, and clean up efforts may last a while.

Related coverage:

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.