Kauai residents woke up Friday morning to a torrent of rain, thunder and lightning. It made things very scary for students, staff and faculty at Waimea High School just before 10 a.m.
Principal Mahina Anguay told KHON2 while everyone was huddled indoors to escape the rain, lighting struck two different areas of the campus. One was a pole that has not been in use for years and the other hit an area near the school library. “The kids in the classes and the staff saw both strikes,” Anguay said. “It was really loud. It sounded like an explosion.”
Anguay said no one was injured and the only damage the lightning caused was to cut phone service at a nearby classroom.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Kauai shortly after 6 a.m. “We’ve had a lot of lightning flash detections on our network,” said Kevin Kodama, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
Kauai resident Richie Taito told KHON2 the storm was startling. “I thought I was hearing things. It was pretty vicious, too, like very two seconds there would be a flash and a clap of thunder and so forth,” he said.
For Kauai, the real problem was rain and lots of it. The National Weather Service reported four inches fell in just one hour over Anahola. As the storm moved south, it was enough for school officials to close five schools, beginning with Hanalei Elementary. Four others, Eleele Elementary, Waimea Canyon Middle, Waimea High and Kekaha Elementary suspended classes at 11 a.m.
In Hanapepe, the swollen river was enough for officials to resort to a rare practice to counter flooding. They set up flood barriers which forced the closure of the one-lane road to the bridge for several hours. They are trained to set these barriers up in seven minutes flat and a county spokeswoman says it went like clockwork.
A brown water advisory was also issued for the entire island of Kauai. Residents are being told to stay away from flood waters and storm water run-off due to possible contamination from sewage, chemicals and other associated flood debris.