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Severe Weather, Road Closure Updates: Maui Under Flood Watch

December 20, 2017, 5:41 AM HST · Updated December 21, 10:47 AM
Wendy Osher · 146 Comments
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    (Update: 10:24 a.m. 12.21.17)
    *New weather updates for Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 are posted in a new LINK.

    The Flash Flood Watch that was in effect for Maui County has been cancelled.

    The National Weather Service says the threat for heavy rainfall and flash flooding has ended.

    The recent wet weather event resulted in stranded motorists, flooded homes and multiple road closures on Wednesday.

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    A record rainfall of 5.78 inches was set in Kahului on Wednesday, breaking the old record for the same day of 3.21 inches set in 1955.

    There was also a small dusting of snow at the upper elevations of Haleakalā this morning.

    Drier weather is expected by Sunday and on Christmas Day, but another front may bring increased showers by Tuesday.

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    WEATHER AND TRAFFIC UPDATES FROM 12.20.17

    (Update: 10:30 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 6:50 p.m., 5:56 p.m., 3:55 p.m., 3:05 p.m., 2:41 p.m., 2:01 p.m., 1:51 p.m., 1:28 p.m., 12:57 p.m., 10:42 a.m. 8:20 a.m., 7:54 a.m.,7:28 a.m., 6:18 a.m. 12.20.17)
    (Posted: 5:02 a.m. 12.20.17)

    The National Weather Service has CONTINUED a FLASH FLOOD WATCH for MAUI and HAWAII COUNTIES in effect now until late tonight.  A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding.

    The NWS replaced a Flood Advisory with a Flood Warning in effect from 10:30 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. (12.21.17).

    At 9:13 p.m. HST, radar indicated heavy rain near Kapalua in West Maui. Rain was falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour.

    Locations in the advisory include but are not limited to: 
    Kapalua, Honokōhau, Kahakuloa, Waiheʻe, Kāʻanapali, Lahaina, Nāpili-Honokōwai and Waiehu.

    A Flash Flood Warning has since expired from Maui Island as of 6:45 p.m.

    The NWS reports that “Abundant moisture associated with a cold front will combine with a developing low aloft to produce widespread heavy rain and a chance of thunderstorms.”

    “Rain will be widespread, and will also affect urban areas in the lower elevations, which are more susceptible to flooding problems. Additionally, prolonged locally intense rainfall is expected, leading to flash flooding of streams and low-lying areas.”

    ROAD/FACILITY CLOSURES:

    Police, fire, Public Works and other county departments are responding to multiple road closures and emergency calls as they happen. Traffic signals at various intersections are out due to scattered power outages. Motorists are urged to stay off the road if at all possible, as flash flooding can occur at anytime.  Below is a list of updated road closures:

    All Recreational Park Facilities Closed:

    County officials say all recreational park facilities are closed to due to heavy rains, including gymnasiums, pools and fields.  Community centers remain OPEN.

    Maui Bus Service Suspended Along Dairy Rd and Kamehameha Ave

    The County of Maui bus service is suspended for all stops along Dairy Road and Kamehameha Avenue until further notice due to flooding.

    Waiʻale Road at Haʻawi Street and Lekeona Loop, Flooding:

    4:50 p.m.: Officers are re-directing traffic on Waiʻale Road in the area of Haʻawi Street due to flooding. Officers are also directing traffic in the area of 860 Lekeona Loop.

    UPDATE/OPEN: Kahekili Hwy at Mile Marker 8, Landslide

    5:56 p.m.: Kahekili Hwy in Wailuku at Mile Marker 8 is now OPEN. The road was closed at 3:05 p.m. due to a large landslide which was blocking both lanes.

    Kaonulu Rd between Piʻilani Hwy and S Kīhei Rd, Flooding

    Maui police closed Kaonulu Road between Piʻilani Highway and South Kīhei Road at around 2:10 p.m., due to flooding. Motorists are urged to avoid using this roadway and to use other routes.

    Kepaniwai Park (in ʻĪao Valley) Closed, Flooding

    The County of Maui issued an update saying Kepaniwai Park is now closed in ʻĪao Valley due to flooding.  The update was issued at 1:50 p.m.

    QKC: Jazz Band Performance Cancelled Due to Inclement Weather

    Due to the rain affecting parts of Kahului, the performance by the Lahainaluna High School Jazz band that was scheduled for tonight at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Shopping Center has been canceled.

    Ulaino Road/Waikoloa Roads:  (11:55 a.m.)

    Ulaino Road and Waikoloa Roads in Hāna are also closed due to flooding in the area. Motorists are encouraged to remain cautious of the wet road conditions.

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    Truck stuck in sinkhole at Kahiki/Molokini Street intersection in Kahului. 12.20.17 PC: Donovan Fayd.

    Molokini St/Kahiki St in Kahului: Sinkhole (11:14 a.m.)

    A motorist reports that a truck got stuck in a “drain hole” at intersection of Kahiki and Molokini Street in Kahului.

    Central Maui Landfill Closed:

    The Central Maui Landfill is closed due to flood damaged roads within the landfill.

    Kahanā Closed, Flooding

    Kahanā Beach Park in Kahului is closed until further notice due to flooding.

     

    Alamaha/Wakea Ave in Kahului: Flooding Advisory

    (10:17 a.m.) Avoid the area of Alamaha and Wākea due to deep flooding.

    Waiehu Golf Course Closed (Flooding):

    As of 9:17 a.m., the County of Maui reported that the Waiehu Golf Course was closed until further notice due to 5 inches of flooding reported on all greens.

    UPDATE/REOPENED: Puʻunēnē and Wākea Avenues, Flooding:

    Puʻunēnē Ave in Kahului is now OPEN as of 4:45 p.m.  Puʻunēnē was closed between Wākea and Kamehameha Ave due to flooding at 10:55 a.m. This included the intersection near Christ the King Church, which was closed in all directions due to flooding at 10 a.m.

    UPDATE/OPEN: Kahekili Hwy (Mile 7-8) Flooding/ Road Closure:

    The Kahekili Highway between Mile 7 and 8 is now OPEN as of 2:41 p.m.  The road was closed at around 7:58 a.m. due to flooding.  County officials say a culvert was plugged and runoff was flowing across the road which was impassible due to flooding.

    UPDATE/OPEN: Dairy Road at Hāna Highway

    Dairy Road in Kahului is now OPEN at Hāna Highway as of 1:21 p.m.  The road was closed for about two hours (since 11:02 a.m.) because of flooding. During the closure, traffic was not be able to access Dairy Road from the intersection.

    UPDATE/OPEN: Intersection Alamaha St/Dairy Rd Flooding: (10:55 a.m.)

    Dairy Road at Alamaha Street in Kahului is now OPEN as of 1:23 p.m.  The intersection was closed from about 10:55 a.m. due to flooding.

    UPDATE/OPEN: Landslide Hana Hwy at Kaupakalua Road Cleared:

    Shortly before 7:30 a.m., Maui police reported a landslide on the Hāna Highway 360 in the area of Kaupakalua Road. The Hāna Highway was initially closed in both directions near Twin Falls due to the landslide, affecting traffic in both directions. As of 1:25 p.m., County officials say the area has been cleared and the road is OPEN.

    Additional Road Closures: 

    Aleo Place is closed due to flooding.  Other flooding calls have also been received from Holua Drive, Pala Circle, Lalo Street, Hukilike Street and Kamehameha and Lono Avenues.

    POWER OUTAGE UPDATES:

    As of 12 p.m., Maui Electric reports that it has restored power to all customers in the Wailuku and Waikapū areas.

    HAWAIʻI AREA SYNOPSIS: (Forecast courtesy National Weather Service)

    “A surface front will combine with a developing low in the upper atmosphere to bring heavy rain and thunderstorms to Maui County and the Big Island through tonight. The front will push slowly across Maui County and the Big Island through tonight, with a cooler and drier air mass filling in following the frontal passage. The cool, dry weather pattern is expected to linger through Friday. Another weak front will bring an increase in clouds and light showers Friday night and Saturday, mainly to north and east facing slopes and coasts. Lighter winds and mostly dry weather are expected Sunday and Christmas day, although another front may be increased showers by the middle of next week.”

    PREVIOUS RADAR OBSERVATIONS: (Courtesy National Weather Service)

    The National Weather Service reports that at 5:40 p.m. HST radar indicated that most of the heavy rain was diminishing over the island of Maui, but widespread light to moderate rain continued. Significant flooding impacts continue in many areas, with numerous road closures reported by Maui Police. If possible, travel should be postponed until rainfall diminishes and water levels recede.

    Locations in the warning include but are not limited to: Hāliʻimaile, Pāʻia, Makawao, Paʻuwela, Huelo, Wailuku, Waiheʻe, Kula, Hāna, Keʻanae, Nāhiku, Makawao, Pukalani.

    At 3:42 p.m. HST, radar indicated widespread heavy rain increasing in coverage over most areas of Maui, with rainfall rates over 2 inches per hour occurring with the heaviest showers. Flash flooding is already occurring, with numerous road closures reported by Maui Police. Ponding water and debris are on many roadways. If possible, avoid travel until rainfall and water levels recede.

    At 1:50 p.m. HST, radar indicated moderate to heavy rain over all of west Maui, from Wailuku to Honokōhau to Lahaina. Forecasters with the NWS say that while rainfall has temporarily eased over many areas in windward east Maui, heavy showers are just offshore, and are poised to move ashore between Kahului and Paʻuwela in the next hour. Numerous road closures are reported by Maui Police due to flooding, with ponding water and debris on many roadways. If possible, avoid travel until rainfall and water levels recede.

    At 12:55 p.m. HST, radar indicated that heavy rain continued over the west Maui mountains, with rain gradually diminishing over windward east Maui. Maui County Police reports numerous road closures *(see below for a complete updated list) due to flooding and water on the roadway, as well as localized land slides. If possible, avoid travel until rainfall and water levels recede.

    At 10:35 a.m. HST, radar indicated heavy rain over all of windward Maui, from Kahakuloa to Kahului to Huelo to Hāmoa. The Maui Police Department reports road closures in many areas due to flooding, land slides, and water covering the roadway (See below for a complete updated list). The NWS says rain was falling at a rate of 2 inches per hour in the heaviest showers, and some areas have already received over 6 inches of rain today. If possible, avoid travel until rainfall and water levels recede.

    At 8:20 a.m. HST, radar indicated heavy rain over the windward slopes of Haleakalā, affecting the area from Huelo to Kipahulu. Additional slow-moving heavy showers were over windward west Maui between Waiehu and Kahakuloa. Rainfall rates up to 2 inches per hour were occurring with the heaviest showers.

    At 7:54 a.m. HST, radar indicated heavy rain over the windward slopes of Haleakalā, affecting the area from Huelo to Hāna to Kīpahulu.  Rainfall rates up to 2 inches per hour were occurring with the heaviest showers. Additional slow-moving heavy showers were developing over windward west Maui, between Kahakuloa and Waiehu.

    At 7:25 a.m. HST, radar indicated that heavy rain had shifted eastward along the windward slopes of Haleakalā, and was primarily affecting the area between Keʻanae and Kīpahulu. Additional slow-moving heavy showers were developing over windward west Maui, between Kahakuloa and Waiehu.

    At 6:15 a.m., radar indicated that slow-moving thunderstorms with heavy rain were increasing in coverage and intensity over windward east Maui, from Kahului to Nāhiku. Rainfall rates up to 2 inches per hour are occurring with the heavier showers, and some areas have already received 2 to 3 inches of rainfall this morning. Motorists are advised to be alert for water on the road and the possibility for landslides, especially on the Hāna Highway.

    At 5 a.m., the rain gauge at Kahului airport reported 2.64 inches of rainfall within an hour.

    PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS FLASH FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING IN STREAMS, ROADS AND LOW LYING AREAS. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND NOW, DO NOT CROSS FAST FLOWING OR RISING WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE OR ON FOOT. TURN AROUND…DON’T DROWN.

    Landslide blocking road near between MM 8 and 9 in Kahakuloa on Kahekili Hwy. PC: Katie Wilson

    Aleo Place, Kahului, Maui at 11 a.m. 12.20.17. PC: Jovie Blue

    Truck stuck in sinkhole at Kahiki/Molokini Street intersection in Kahului. 12.20.17 PC: Donovan Fayd.

    Flood at Puʻunēnē and Wākea Ave (12.20.2017) (Photo: Ryan Piros)

    Aleo Place, Kahului, Maui at 11 a.m. 12.20.17. PC: Jovie Blue

    In front of Wailuku Elementary. Severe weather, Maui 12.20.17. Christine Ortiz

    In front of Wailuku Elementary. Severe weather, Maui 12.20.17. Christine Ortiz

    Maui severe weather 12.20.17 PC: Jamie L. Clark

    Severe weather, Maui (Kahului 12.20.17) PC: Hazel Joy Lagazo Lorenzo

    PC: Hui Ho-Winter. 12.20.17 Wakea and Puunene in Kahului, Maui

    Flood at Puʻunēnē and Wākea Ave (12.20.2017) (Photo: Ryan Piros)

    Flood at Puʻunēnē and Wākea Ave (12.20.2017) (Photo: Ryan Piros)

    Flood at Hāna Hwy and Hanakai St. (12.20.2017) (Photo: Ryan Piros)

    Flooding at the Old Kahului Shopping Center. PC: 12.20.17 Shawn Moreland

    Kahului flooding 10 a.m. PC: Susan Miller

    Kahului flooding 10 a.m. PC: Susan Miller

    Kahului flooding 10 a.m. PC: Susan Miller

    Kahului flooding 10 a.m. PC: Susan Miller

    Kahului flooding 10 a.m. PC: Susan Miller

    Maui Flood Warning 9:15 a.m. 12.20.17. Kahului. Maui Now photo.

    Flash flood warning satellite imagery 8:30 a.m. HST 12.20.17 PC: NOAA/NWS

    Maui Flood Warning 9:15 a.m. 12.20.17. Kahului. Maui Now photo.

    Maui Flood Warning 9:15 a.m. 12.20.17. Kahului. Maui Now photo.

    Satellite imagery 12.20.17. NOAA/NWS.

    Wendy Osher
    Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 15 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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