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Kaua‘i Braces For More Rain: 340 Airlifted, 12 Landslides, Thousands of Pounds of Debris

April 18, 2018, 7:30 AM HST · Updated April 18, 10:28 AM
Wendy Osher · 14 Comments
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Foreground photo: courtesy of KEMA Emergency Operations Center partners. Background photo: (US Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Verdura/Released)

The rescue and recovery effort continues on Kauaʻi where crews from the county, US Army and National Guard airlifted an additional 125 people from the North Shore communities of Hā‘ena and Wainiha on Tuesday.

That brings the total to 340 people who were airlifted from the flood damaged area since Monday.

More rain is expected with a Flash Flood Watch in effect from Thursday until at least Friday afternoon for the island. While the system isn’t expected to be as severe as the weekend rains, grounds are already saturated, posing an increased risk for flooding.

The island of Kaua‘i remains under a brown water advisory.  Officials say testing is ongoing around the island and results may be available later today.  There’s also flight restrictions in place over the flood damaged area, particularly for drones as the Federal Aviation Administration works to ensure the safety of first responders.

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A staging area has been set up at Camp Naue for ongoing evacuations today. The camp also serves as one of two distribution points (the other is Hanalei Colony Resort) for food, water and other provisions for stranded individuals opting to stay put.

Crews continue work to clear and repair Kūhiō Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha where a dozen landslides have been discovered and thousands of pounds of mud, trees, and debris must be cleared from the roadway to allow passage by vehicle. A definitive time-frame for completion has not yet been established. Officials with the Kauai Emergency Management Agency say crews are also working to clear debris and repair two structurally-damaged areas on the Lumahai end of the closure.

Current Road Closures: (Road Condition Updates are available by calling 241-1725)

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· Kūhiō Highway at the Wailua River Bridge will have temporary lane closures from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday in order to remove debris from the river. One lane in both directions will remain open.
· Kuhio Highway, between Waikoko and Wainiha, due to multiple landslides;
· A portion of Kahiliholo Road in Kilauea;
· Lei o Papa Road in Princeville due to a sinkhole;
· Hanalei Plantation Road in Princeville remains closed due to a sinkhole; and
· Weke Road in the vicinity of Black Pot each remains closed.

Hanalei Elementary remains closed for all students today (Wednesday, April 18), with an anticipated re-opening tomorrow.

A “do not drink” advisory has been issued for water customers along a portion of Weke Road in Hanalei. While repairs are complete, the advisory is in place due to the exposure to the service lines from recent damage.  Affected customers are being asked not to drink or cook with tap water until further notice as a precautionary measure, until further notice.

A water conservation notice was also issued by Princeville Utilities Co., Inc. for customers in Princeville, Anini Vista, Kalihiwai Bay Estates, Kapaka Road and Hanalei Plantation Road.

The multi-agency response effort includes participation from: the National Guard, US Coast Guard, Kaua‘i Fire Department, Kaua‘i Police Department, American Medical Response, the American Red Cross, along with Community Emergency Response Team volunteers and the Hawai‘i Air Ambulance.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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