Rain Drenches Oahu

Nov. 6, 2007

A flash flood watch remains in effect across Hawaii today with more showers due, but nothing to rival yesterday's downpour, which cut power to various Oahu neighborhoods and flooded streets and residential areas. The storm that hit Oahu was expected to move over Maui and the Big Island last night and then away from the state in the middle of the week.

The early "winter" storm, which also brought occasional lightning and thunder, caused flooding in streets and blackouts in several areas. A boulder, believed to be loosened by the rain, fell in the back yard of a Palolo Valley home, but no one was hurt.

Nearly 2 million gallons of wastewater spilled into storm drains leading to Pearl Harbor, the Navy and Health Department confirmed.

After about 10 hours of heavy rain, ground water spilling from Kailua Beach Park threatened a row of homes on Kawailoa Street, a flood-prone area, but the American Red Cross reported no damage.

Heavy rain mixed with debris plugged the drain in the park, creating a large pond of deep water and forcing water to spill into the neighborhood. Firefighters and volunteers from the city's Department of Emergency Management placed sandbags on the perimeter of the park to protect the homes.

"Hopefully, this will divert some of the water away from the homes," said Bruce Eguires, 55, a city volunteer for 30 years. "Unfortunately, this rain is going to be here until Tuesday. The ground is so saturated, so it's not going to take much more (rain) to flood the area."

At least two sewer manholes overflowed yesterday because of the heavy rain, prompting state health officials to issue a warning for Oahu residents to stay out of floodwater because it could contain pollutants.

About 11,200 gallons of sewage overflowed from a manhole at Keolu Drive and Hele Street in Kailua. Another 5,000 gallons spilled from the Wahiawa Waste Water Treatment Plant into a reservoir. An undetermined amount of sewage flowed from a manhole by Neal S. Blaisdell Park in Aiea. The Navy blamed a power surge for the spill that sent 1.97 gallons of wastewater into storm drains.

On top of all the trouble, the rain will do little to ease the drought in Hawaii.

"One rainstorm doesn't end the drought we've been in, especially if most of it goes to runoff, but it is definitely welcome," said Kodama.

Image: Firefighters waded through a flooded Kawailoa Road yesterday to help start a pump to drain water from the street. Heavy rain and thunderstorms hit the majority of the island Saturday night, causing damaging floods in several areas.

Source: The Honolulu Star Bulletin