Apr 17, 2018

Hawaii Storm Triggers Flooding, Mudslides

A rain event on Kauai, Hawaii, has caused significant floods and forced evacuations for residents and visitors

Storm water runoff and flooding in Hawaii island of Kauai

On April 14, heavy rains led to flooding, mudslides and evacuations in Kauai, Hawaii. Hawaii Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation for the County of Kauai as the region faced multiple mudslides, power outages, road closures and the threat of the Kalihiwai Reservoir overflowing.

“For context, the town of Wainiha, Kauai, recorded a staggering 822 mm of rainfall in just 48 hours,” CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said of the rain event. “That amount of rainfall would climatologically take nearly 18 months to fall in London and over 24 months to fall in Los Angeles.”

Kauai is no stranger to rain, averaging rainfall during 300 days of the year, but this storm led to emergency rescue crews evacuating 152 people by helicopter, 121 by bus and countless others by water. Floodwaters and storm water runoff have led to large pools of standing water, contaminated drinking water and even landslides closing major roadways. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued hikers along the region’s state parks via helicopter after campers and hikers were trapped by flood waters.

“The north shore of Kauai experienced flash flooding with waters rising between five and eight feet above average due to the severe thunderstorms and heavy rains, trapping many residents inside their homes and on rooftops,” the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.

In the wake of the storm, officials are working to restore power and water services, as well as clear roadways covered on mudslides triggered by storm water runoff. A brown water advisory remains in effect until further notice. Big Island Now reports that residents are advised to stay out of flood and storm waters due to possible overflowing cesspools, sewer, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals and associated flood debris.