7 Rescued From Kīhei Flash Flood, Motorists Stranded

March 7, 2017, 4:13 PM HST · Updated March 8, 8:05 AM
Wendy Osher · 118 Comments
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    Seven People Rescued After Flash Flooding Strands Motorists on South Kīhei Road
    Update: (9:32 p.m. 3.7.17)

    Maui firefighters rescued a total of seven people after they became stranded by flood waters during a flash flooding event along South Kīhei Road reported at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

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    Firefighters initially responded for a female being swept away in her vehicle by flood waters and were trying to locate her when crews came upon three other vehicles that were stranded or stalled in deep water along South Kīhei Road.

    Wailea firefighters rescued a female in a Mini Cooper, and a male and female from a 4-door sedan whose vehicles stalled in high running flood water on South Kīhei Road, just north of Kaonoulu Street.

    Four other individuals were found stranded on a bridge by fast flowing stream water just south of Kaonoulu Street. Two were in a car and two were pedestrians standing on the bridge outside the vehicle.

    Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said stream water a few feet deep was rushing over South Kīhei Road on both sides of the bridge. The stranded individuals decided to stay put and wait for the water to recede rather than chance crossing the gushing stream.

    Firefighters eventually found the female who originally called in that she was about to be swept away in her car. Another female was also with her. Fire officials say bystanders had helped to push the woman’s car to a safe area and both individuals were uninjured.

    Fire crews had all of the stranded individuals safe and on dry ground by 5 p.m. Fire crews from Kīhei, Wailea, and a rescue crew from Kahului responded to the flooding incident.

    South Kīhei Road OPEN (Update: 8:15 p.m. 3.7.17)

    South Kīhei Road is now OPEN as of 8;15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.  Emergency officials report that the flood water has since receded; however there are a few ponding areas where water remains, and motorists are asked to proceed with caution.

    Previous Post: (Update: 6:49 p.m. 3.7.17)
    Cleanup Continues, Motorists Asked to Avoid Travel;
    County Stands Ready to Activate Shelter if Needed

    County crews continue cleanup and response to flooding reports from heavy rains and thunderstorms across south and Upcountry Maui today.

    Flood waters continue to run over South Kīhei between Kaonoulu Road and Kūlanihākoʻi Street. Residents are asked be patient and avoid using S. Kīhei Road as low-lying areas are prone to flooding during rainstorms.

    The county’s Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the situation and stands ready to activate an American Red Cross shelter if the need arises.

    Residents are also asked NOT to call dispatch for updates on road closures or weather. Please keep the 9-1-1 line free for service and emergency calls.

    Maui Now has received reports of heavy flooding from the Maui Lu area of South Kīhei Road to Kūlanihākoʻi.  There are several stranded motorists in the area and authorities have confirmed that several homes have been evacuated.  Maui police closed off S Kīhei Road between Kaonoulu and Kūlanihākoʻi St. at 4 p.m. until further notice, and are rerouting motorists around the flooded area.  Emergency crews from the Maui Fire Department are also responding to the flooding reports.

    Below is a list of weather advisories and watches in effect for Maui, provided by the National Weather Service:

    Flash Flood WARNING Until 7:30 p.m. for Maui

    (Update: 4:44 p.m.; 6:11 p.m. 3.7.17)

    The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for the island of Maui until 7:30 p.m.

    At 6:10 p.m., radar indicated thunderstorms moving over Maui from the southwest, producing rainfall rates between two and three inches per hour. Very heavy rain is impacting areas where flooding is already occurring in Kīhei. Motorists are asked to avoid travel in the central valley and south Maui if possible, as flooding will make for hazardous driving.

    At 4:37 p.m., flooding from Kūlanihākoʻi Gulch has closed South Kīhei Road between Kaonoulu and Kūlanihākoʻi Streets. Heavy rainfall is also moving over the leeward Haleakalā slopes from the southwest. This rainfall can produce flash flooding in normally dry gulches from Mākena to Kīhei and in the Kēōkea and Kula areas of Upcountry Maui.

    * Locations in the warning include but are not limited to Kahului, Kīhei, Waikapū, Māʻalaea, Paʻuwela, Wailea, Huelo, Pāʻia, Makawao, Puʻunēnē, Kula and Waiehu.

    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

    A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring in streams, roads, and low lying areas. Move to higher ground now.

    Do not cross fast flowing water in your vehicle, or on foot. Turn around, don/t drown.

    Flood Watch Issued through Late Wednesday
    Update: 3:52 p.m. 3.7.16

    The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for all islands through Wednesday night, March 8, 2017.

    Forecasters with the NWS say an upper level trough will strengthen as it digs toward the islands during the next couple of days.

    While isolated heavy showers could develop over all islands, the main threat for heavy showers and thunderstorms will be along a band of moisture currently stalled over Maui and northern Big Island.  This band may drift northward on Wednesday night.

    PREVIOUS POSTS

    Flood Advisory Extended until 5:15 p.m. for Maui
    (Update: 2:46 p.m. 3.7.17)

    The National Weather Service has extended a Flood Advisory for Maui until 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.  A Flood Advisory means that nuisance flooding is occurring or imminent. The advisory may need to be extended if heavy rain persists.

    At 4 p.m.,  Maui County emergency management reported runoff going on to South Kīhei Road from Kūlanihākoʻi Gulch near Kaonoulu Street. Rainfall affecting the gulch has diminished but runoff is expected to remain elevated for another hour or so. Additional heavy rainfall has also been falling over the Wailea and ʻUlupalakua areas of southwest Maui.

    Locations in the advisory include but are not limited to… Kahului, Kīhei, Paʻuwela, Wailea, Huelo, Pāʻia, Makawao, Puʻunēnē, Kula, Pukalani, Hāliʻimaile and ʻUlupalakua.

    At 2:20 p.m., radar indicated areas of heavy showers and thunderstorms along both windward and leeward slopes of Haleakalā. The heaviest showers were producing rain rates in excess of 2 inches per hour. Expect continued areas of heavy showers and possible rises in streams through the afternoon.

    At 12:59 p.m., radar indicated heavy rain falling at rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour along the leeward slopes of Haleakalā. Slow moving heavy showers and thunderstorms will persist into the afternoon along slopes of Haleakalā, which could lead to rapid rises in streams in lower elevations.

    As a precaution, the public is advised to stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low-lying areas that are prone to flooding.  Motorists and pedestrians are reminded not to cross fast flowing or rising water in their vehicle or on foot.

    Flooding on South Kīhei Road at Kaonoulu St. 3.7.17 PC: Timothy Lara.

    Flooding on South Kīhei Road at Kaonoulu St. 3.7.17 PC: Timothy Lara.

    An axis deer trying to swim across Kūlanihākoʻi Gulch in Kīhei. PC: Lourdes Venard

    An axis deer trying to swim across Kūlanihākoʻi Gulch in Kīhei. PC: Lourdes Venard

    Flooding near Kūlanihākoʻi in the Kīhei area of South Maui. PC: Kevin Olson.

    Flooding near Kūlanihākoʻi in the Kīhei area of South Maui. PC: Kevin Olson.

    Flooding near Kūlanihākoʻi in the Kīhei area of South Maui. PC: Kevin Olson.

    Flooding near Kūlanihākoʻi in the Kīhei area of South Maui. PC: Kevin Olson.

    Bottom stairwell of Grand Wailea parking garage. 3.7.17. PC: Beba Becerra-O’Brien

    Kīhei flooding 3.7.17. PC: Judy

    Kīhei flooding 3.7.17. PC: Judy

    Kīhei flooding 3.7.17. PC: Judy

    Kīhei flooding 3.7.17. PC: Judy

    Kīhei flooding 3.7.17. PC: Judy

    Kīhei flood 3.7.17

    Kīhei flood 3.7.17

    Kīhei flood 3.7.17

    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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