Maui News

Flash Flood in Kailua Serves as Safety Reminder

July 21, 2017, 1:05 PM HST
* Updated July 21, 1:08 PM
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Reports of flash flooding conditions at a river in the area often referred to as “Bamboo Forest” in Kailua, Maui on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, prompted response from Maui firefighters.

“Bamboo Forest” Kailua, Maui. Maui Now image.

Fire officials say they were called to the location at around 1:37 p.m. after a man slid down from the trail about 200 yards toward the river and was unable to get back to higher ground. When responding crews arrived on scene, they confirmed that the individual was safe and eventually walked back to the road.

A visitor to the area tells Maui Now that she went hiking with her family earlier that day and observed flash flood conditions occur at around 11:20 a.m. During her visit, she said more than a dozen individuals formed a human chain to get hikers to safety.

Fire officials say they were not notified of the incident, and could not confirm details, but once on scene did advise hikers in the area to refrain from venturing out in the poor conditions.

The Maui Fire Department urges the public to view the safety information and recommendations below regarding flash flooding.

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MFD advises all hikers to:

  • Wear brightly colored clothes so rescue crews can more easily spot you.
  • Take adequate amount of water and snacks.
  • Start hikes early and know when the sun sets (darkness). Leave adequate time to get back.
  • Let someone else know where you are hiking and when you should return.
  • Make sure cell phones are fully charged and take an extra battery.
  • Be aware remote areas will not have cell phone coverage.
  • Never dive or jump into ponds due to submerged rocks/ledges.
  • Never cross or swim in streams/ponds when dark clouds are on the mountains.
  • Heed all warning signs and do not trespass on private property.
  • Stay on trails and pack out any rubbish. Leave only footprints. Never hike alone.
  • Be prepared for sudden changes in weather. Bring a poncho, jacket. sunscreen, and mosquito repellent.
  • Call the National Weather Service at (808) 944-3756, Ext 2. Heed all advisories, watches, and warnings.
  • Call the Maui County Automated Information Line at 808-986-1200, Ext 1.
  • Check out www.weather.gov/hawaii.
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Also be Aware:

  1. Flash flooding may still occur even when sunny due to rain clouds higher up in the mountains.
  2. Newer editions of guidebooks have many safety messages. Read and abide by them.
  3. River rocks can be very slippery. Stay away from cliff edges. Be aware of falling rocks.
  4. Better to stay put than risk hiking in darkness.
  5. Hawaiʻi’s streams may be contaminated with leptospirosis.

*To gain an appreciation of the power, speed, and dangers of flash floods, the Maui Fire Department and Maui County Emergency Management Agency has provided a video on the County of Maui website (posted below) that shows an area very popular for visitors and residents that has resulted in past response to rescue trapped, injured, overdue victims, or body recoveries.

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