Flooding causes thousands in damage at Waimea Valley

Flooding causes thousands in damage at Waimea Valley
Updated: Mar. 1, 2017 at 6:17 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIMEA VALLEY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A popular attraction on Oahu's North Shore will be closed for several days due to widespread storm damage.

Employees at Waimea Valley turned away hundreds of visitors on Wednesday as torrential rain filled up a riverbed that is usually dry.

The rushing water carried away a heavy tractor and other valuable equipment.

"Took away washing machines, saws, a lot of our tools," said Waimea Valley executive director Richard Pezzulo.

With a broken culvert and other weather-related problems, the damage is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Employees and volunteers are working hard to reopen the attraction by Sunday.

"The debris, the logs, when you see the stuff that is washed down that stream -- and you can tell where the boulders have been moved, concrete barriers -- it's very surprising," Pezzulo said.

The main stream that runs through the valley and empties into Waimea Bay rose rapidly overnight. Floodwaters even swept away the gauge used to monitor the river's flow.

"We usually set it for when it hits two feet, three feet, but it went up to 12 feet in a matter of an hour and a half."

Over in nearby Sunset Beach, the flooding sent debris down Kaunala Street, trapping a woman's vehicle and creating a muddy mess.

"She's gonna wait for the insurance. That's a brand new car. Nature, can't help it," said Terry Maghanoy, the vehicle owner's tenant.

Red Cross volunteers responded to the residential flooding on Oahu's North Shore and will be providing assistance.

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