‘Insane’: West Maui takes stock a day after homes, cars washed away

'Insane': West Maui takes stock a day after homes, cars washed away
Updated: Sep. 13, 2018 at 4:43 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Crews are still assessing the extent of the damage to properties in West Maui. (Image: Hawaii...
Crews are still assessing the extent of the damage to properties in West Maui. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

Honokohau Valley, Maui - A day after Tropical Storm Olivia pummeled Maui with torrential rains and strong winds, residents are still trying to assess all the damage.

What is known: Vehicles were lost, homes were swept away and a West Maui taro farm was devastated.

"We were wading from house to house up to our hips," said Honokohau Valley resident Benaiah Connolly. "The pressure coming from underneath the house was enough to take you off your feet. It was scary. It was the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life."

The raging floodwaters carried away several homes and vehicles. Some of them ended up all the way at the bottom of the valley.

No one was hurt, but some residents had to scramble to escape as a torrent of muddy water flooded their properties.

"It was insane," Connolly said. "We watched our bridge get taken out and it's 25 feet off the river bed. And watched our Ford truck and F-150 float downstream."

When Olivia ripped over the area, torrential rains also created a wall of water that devastated Wili Wood's taro farm near the Honokohau Stream.

Wood said just a few months ago, another storm damaged 20 of his taro patches.

"In February, we were able to get the community together and help rebuild," he said. "This time. it's a lot worse. It's a lot of broken glass through all the taro patches. All of our rock walls collapsed."

The Losano family used to have three buildings in the valley that they were living in.

In Olivia's flooding, one was swept out to sea and two others were pushed downstream.

Gretchen Losano said she'd evacuated from the valley with her husband and daughters on Tuesday night. They knew about the flooding risks after a close call from another storm.

And on Thursday, they were committed to rebuilding.

"The valley is still here and so this is home," Losano said.

The storm also caused problems in other areas of West Maui. In Kahana, part of Lower Honoapiilani Road is closed after rushing water tore up the street.

"The road is buckled. It looks like it has gone underneath," said Kahana resident Ryan Kirkham. "There's a culvert, banana trees on the road, lots of debris, flooding in some of the homes."

The Maui Emergency Management Agency is urging all residents, businesses and property owners to report any storm-related damage so that the county has an accurate assessment of the impact of Olivia.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.