New rainfall records at Honolulu Airport prompt better storm plans for Oahu

Local News

Experts at the National Weather Service say severe storms like the one Tuesday night can be expected in the winter, but not during the summer. The intensity of rain caught many people off guard, and has the City and County of Honolulu looking at ways they can improve when major storms hit.

At Kaumaka Pili church in Kalihi, fans were running full blast, trying to dry out the classroom carpets. Rain water had entered multiple rooms on the church grounds, including the day care room, which was where most of the damage was.

“The front drain couldn’t handle the amount of water so the water started coming in,” said Matthew Motas, Kaumaka Pili Church Volunteer.

He said there was water damage to the rugs and furniture, which had happened in really bad storms in the past. Four years ago, they had to re-install church classroom floors and walls.

“Whenever theres a storm, we all hold our breaths,” said Motas.

But Tuesday night’s storm was unlike any other summer storm in the islands. 

“We’re breaking records at Daniel K. Inouye International airport, Kahului, the Big Island, Hilo,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

According to the The National Weather Service, the previous record for rainfall in Honolulu in June was 0.14 inches. Tuesday night, there was more than four inches of rain, an 8 percent increase.

One of the factors that could have caused this record breaking event is El Nino.

“Sometimes when you get that suppressed trade winds and you get some instability, you’ll end up with a rain situation like we just had,” said Derek Wroe, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

As for the response after the storm, the mayor says they will be looking to improve areas.

“I think we saw a rain bomb last night, and if we start redesigning our streets and doing how we do things, the impact from them will be less,” said Mayor Caldwell.

The mayor says he’ll also be taking a look at the quickness of response to flooding situations and coordination between City and County of Honolulu and Hawaii state agencies. 

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