Tropical storms are something we can prepare for but that’s not always the case with heavy rain storms like the one back in April.
Kauai and East Oahu residents were caught off-guard and five months later many still haven’t full recovered.
No one was expecting it. Rushing water turned Kalanianaole Highway into a river on the evening of April 13, 2018 flooding hundreds of homes in Aina Haina and Niu Valley. The next day residents like Shauna and Pete Tuohy were left sifting through the mud.
“It came up right to the second row books and stuff,” Shauna explained as she pointed to a bookshelf on her wall about three feet tall caked in mud. “It was in my brothers room, my moms room, just everything kind of got caved in on each other.”
That was then and this is now five months later Pete Tuohy stood in their newly renovated home.
Pete walked down the hallway and remarked about how his sister had given a tour of their home and all of their belongings covered in thick, brown muck.
The flood water reached 41 inches outside their home and 29 inches inside. Pete said the contractors had told him they’d never seen anything like it before.
The only piece of furniture salvaged, their grandmother’s piano. Everything else had to go.
The Tuohys were lucky, they had flood insurance. But getting the money from their insurance was not easy according to Pete.
“It did not cover content. It only covered structure–the wood. If the water touched the wood it covered, and it covered refrigerator and the range and that was it,” Pete said.
It’s been five months since the flood and every time it rains Pete said he’s concerned that Wailupe stream could overflow again.
Khon2 asked, “Has it created anxiety?”
“Every time it rains it’s hard,” Pete said.
He said he, along with all of his neighbors, want more to be done to prevent this from happening again.
“The city says they maintain the stream,” Pete explained as he stood in the middle of Wailupe Stream fronting his house. “But 600 hundred yards up there. From here that doesn’t look maintained…it’s all foliage.”
Pete said the city used to run tractors up the canal, but he said he hasn’t seen that in years.
“If they drain the canal at the mouth, the problem isn’t there the problem is at the bridge,” Pete explained, clearly frustrated. “(Politicians) all come and look at the canal. They all come and look at my yard. They all come and look at the stream and nothing has happened since that time.”
The historic rains caused more than $19 million in damage to public property alone. On Oahu and Kauai 532 homes were impacted, with 115 of them having major damage or complete destroyed.
The Tuohy’s said they are thankful they were not hurt and are looking forward to moving back into their home. Yet the thought that another flood could come makes them hold off on doing that.