West Maui residents dealing with flooding caused by release of debris

iao-valley-wailuku-river-flood

It’s been a night of concern for Maui residents who live in Iao Valley. Their homes are once again being threatened by flash flooding.

But according to John Jelsema of the National Weather Service, it’s not because of heavy rain. “The latest is that at 5:30 this afternoon, the Wailuku River in the valley began to rise and ended up starting to become problematic about 7:15 when we issued the flash flood warning when it was over topping the valley road and also beginning to inundate one residence along the road as well as threatening several others.”

Valley resident Kainoa Horcajo said “our best guess is that it’s caused from debris blocking water from traveling downhill … it finally broke free and allowed the water to travel downhill, and that’s what resulted in the rapid river rise.”

Just two days ago, valley residents felt the effects of heavy rains leading to flooded homes and streets, along with public parks.

The scenes at Iao Valley on Wednesday showed just how much damage was done by severe flooding thanks to unusually heavy rains. Overflow from the Wailuku River flooded homes and severely damaged the popular Kepaniwai Park.

Further down the valley, even more damage could be found, including large trees and boulders being knocked down.

Unfortunately, residents are not out of the woods.

“This is way more than a hundred-year flood. It’s a 500-year flood,” said Horcajo, “and it has completely changed the grade and level of the river, so there are parts of the river higher than the adjacent properties. So the river is flowing into Iao Valley Road into people’s homes and cars. Our upstream neighbors were in the process of cleaning things out and now they have mud and flood waters going through their house again.”

Gov. Ige on Friday issued an emergency proclamation because of the recent storm.

The Iao Valley State Monument will also remain closed indefinitely because of flood damage from the heavy rain.

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