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Flooding Damages Homes Near Waihe‘e River

February 19, 2018, 9:40 PM HST · Updated February 19, 9:42 PM
Nikki Schenfeld · 8 Comments
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Near Waiheʻe Valley bridge, Maui. PC: Dawnya N Fernando Seispardo-Rosales 2.18.18

Torrential rains over the West Maui mountains created flash flood conditions in the Wailuku, Waiehu, and Waihe‘e areas on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, which lead to many rescues across those areas.

At 1:45 p.m., a Wailuku fire crew responded to a home being flooded on Kahekili Highway by overflowing stream waters on the south bank of the Waihe‘e River.

While responding, firefighters had to detour around an impassable section of Kahekili Highway due to a high volume of water crossing the highway between Maka‘ala Drive and Waiehu Beach Road.

At that time, crews met another area of high flowing water crossing Kahekili Highway, just north of Waihe‘e Elementary School, but was able to safely cross over.

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At 1:51 p.m., Wailuku firefighters were redirected to River Road after a male was reported to be trapped by flash flooding and stranded on a high ground, surrounded by fast flowing water from the Waihe‘e River.

Firefighters arrived and saw a man matching the description of the trapped male walking towards them. The River Road resident said he was the one surrounded by the river water but was able to walk out safety after flood waters receded. The man told firefighters that a neighbor’s house had been flooded and there was someone on the second floor that needed rescue. Firefighters found that the stream had subsided and were able to get a 15-year-old boy out of the two-story home.

The teen said the stream rose about 8-to-10 feet in a matter of minutes and when he tried to flee down the interior stairway, water was rushing through the first floor of the home and he was forced to retreat back upstairs.

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Fire officials said an exterior staircase couldn’t be used due to flood waters being washed it away. The teen was home alone when the flooding occurred and was released unharmed back to his parents after they arrived.

A hazmat crew from Kahului arrived at the original call for flooding to a home on Kahekili Highway at about 2:27 p.m., but the flood waters had already receded. Crews helped the homeowner remove belongings from the house. Three adults and a young child were at home when about 2-to-3 feet of water came crashing through the basement of the
home. All four were able to safely get of the house and were not injured.

Fire officials say two other homes on River Road were affected by the flash flooding, yet no injuries were reported from the other homes.

A shed and two vehicles were reported to have been washed away by flash flood waters on River Road, which lies on the north bank of the Waihe‘e River.

At 2:09 p.m. a Kahului rescue crew responded to a report of flooding on Lower Waiehu Beach Road but when crews got there, flood waters had dissipated and no homes had been flooded. It was reported that flood waters had crested over the Waiehu Stream Bridge making Lower Waiehu Beach Road impassable for a brief time.

There were no injuries reported.

In all, three homes on the north side of the Waihe‘e River, on River Road were affected by flash flood waters. One home on the south side of the river was affected by flood waters. Two River Road residents, a 15-year-old boy and an adult male were at one time stranded by flood waters, but were able to ride it out safely after flood waters subsided. Fire crews reported no injuries in Sunday’s flood response.

Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.

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