Emergency crews respond to flooding, landslides as heavy rain drenches Maui


Heavy rain soaked Maui Wednesday, causing several road closures and flooding some homes.

The downpour began Tuesday night and continued throughout the day, prompting a flash flood warning that forecasters extended until 6:45 p.m. for the entire island.

At 3:42 p.m., radar indicated widespread heavy rain increasing in coverage over most areas of Maui, with rainfall rates over 2 inches per hour occurring with the heaviest showers. Flash flooding is already occurring, with numerous road closures reported by Maui police.

The Maui Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Operations Center was activated with all personnel monitoring weather conditions closely.

County officials tell us that Central and Upcountry Maui received the brunt of the downpour with the rain falling as much as two inches per hour.

The Maui police and fire departments, as well as crews from the Department of Public Works and other county departments responded to emergency calls as they came in.

Motorists are urged to stay off the road if at all possible, as flash flooding can occur at anytime.

Hotels and tour guide operators are asked to discourage visitors from traveling to Hana.

Rain prompted the closures of several facilities, including:

  • All recreational park facilities, including gymnasiums, pools, and fields (though community centers remain open),
  • Central Maui landfill, which had flood-damaged roads,
  • Waiehu Golf Course, which saw five inches of rain that flooded all the greens, and
  • Kahana Park, which was flooded.

Several roads also had to be closed throughout the day due to flooded conditions and localized landslides.

Crews were sent out to try to pump water out of the busy roadways as well as some of the homes.

  • Maui Bus service was suspended for all stops along Dairy Road and Kamehameha Avenue due to flooding.
  • A clogged culvert caused runoff to flow across Kahekili Highway between mile posts 7 and 8 until around 2:45 p.m.
  • A landslide was reported on Hana Highway near Kaupakalua Road.
  • Waikoloa Road, Puunene Avenue, and Aleo Place were also affected.

A parking lot in Aleo Place in Kahului left a truck and a school bus partially submerged. Residents also pumped water out of their homes, hoping the situation doesn’t get any worse.

In addition to the rain, strong winds also caused all kinds of problems.

“Craziness,” said Wailuku resident Rhonda Alvarez. “Get trees on the ground, flooding all over the place.”

The weather also knocked out power.

Maui Electric tells us more than 3,000 homes in Wailuku and Waikapu did not have electricity after a tree branch came down on some power lines. Traffic signals were out at several intersections.

Power was restored about an hour and a half later.

Wednesday’s rain also triggered sewage overflow.

Officials say sewage spilled from a manhole on Lower Main Road in Wailuku. It’s been stopped but it’s not clear how much has spilled.

For more information, contact the Maui County Department of Emergency Management at 270-7275.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources says Iao Valley State Monument is closed due to downed trees and rocks on the road to the Iao. Staff hope to clear the road and reopen the park on Thursday.

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