Flood Watch, Park Closures Begin for Maui
By Wendy Osher
At 3:58 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, 2014, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the islands of Maui and Hawaii Island.
The forecast calls for “deep tropical moisture” combined with and “upper level trough” that will bring the threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms through Monday.
According to the NWS, localized intense rainfall is likely to occur with the potential for flash flooding. The agency says the greatest chance of flooding will occur over windward slopes, which a lesser chance over leeward locations.
The agency reminds the public that it does not have to be raining heavily where you are for flash flooding to occur. The public is advised to avoid camping or hiking near streams and low-lying areas that are prone to flooding.
Also on Maui, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Divisions of Forestry and Wildlife and State Parks will close the Makawao Forest Reserve and Kula Forest Reserve (including Polipoli Spring State Park) effective noon today.
State officials say the areas are being closed as a safety precaution due to the anticipated arrival of a tropical weather system that may bring heavy rains and possible flash flooding to the island chain. Based upon the latest advisory from the National Weather Service, DLNR notes that between 5 to 10 and even up to 12 inches of rain may be expected in some areas.
DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement will assist forestry staff to check the areas and notify users, place signs, and lock gates.
Staff will conduct an assessment on Monday morning to determine whether those areas are safe to re-open.
DLNR reminds the public to listen to weather forecasts, advisories or warnings, and avoid going on hiking trails or crossing flooding streams which may be subject to flash floods and rising waters.