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'I was just floating': Cars trapped in flash flooding in Windward Oahu

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Three vehicles got trapped near Waikane Bridge due to flash flooding Friday morning.

Brook Hall said she thought she could make it through the rushing water. She was wrong.

"The water was coming up to the windshield and the car started stiffening up and my brakes didn't work, steering wheel didn't work and the car eventually gave out so I was just floating in the water," Brooke Hall said.  "At one point I started floating backwards and I got stuck with a log behind the wheel and then the fire department came and that was it."

Kamehameha Highway at the Waikane Stream was shut down in both directions because of the flooding.

Honolulu firefighters say three cars were trapped near Waikane Valley Road because of the rapid rush of water.

They were told to stay in their car until firefighters were able to rescue them.

A good samaritan worked with firefighters to bring everyone to safety.

Kamehameha Highway has since reopened.

HFD said this is the second rescue they've made in Waikane this year. The first was on February 18th around 1p.m.

Nadine Tokuzato's family has owned Waikane store, next to the bridge, since 1929.

"When it rains it floods really bad...every time it rains people get worried and they ask me if the road is closed," she said.

She explained that her home and the store are slightly elevated so they don't often flood, but when the road closes due to flash flooding, it hurts their business.

Her son, Alden Tokuzato, said their neighbors who live right next to the stream get it much worse than they do.

"I feel really, really sorry for them because the water goes right through there property. It becomes a stream of its own," Alden said.

Residents who live next to the stream are frustrated that nothing is being done to fix the problem. 

Though the Waikane Stream has receded piles of debris remain blocking one half of the bridge from flowing smoothly. The mountain side of Waikane Bridge was clogged with tree trunks, broken branches and other rubbish around 2p.m. Friday afternoon. 

Liko Hoe, the manager at Waiahole Poi Factory less than a mile down the road, said something should be done to Waikane Bridge to prevent this from happening.

"The water comes over so often, I think definitely there could be some kind of infrastructure changes," Hoe said.

"Just in the last 24 hours, overnight I think (the water) blocked the road two times. And then this morning it was around 8 o'clock this morning I came over again," Hoe explained.

He said Waikane floods at least three to four times a year.

The Department of Transportation said they will be sending a crew out soon to clear the debris from the bridge, but they do not currently have any plans to replace or modify Waikane Bridge.

DOT does have a plan for a Waiahole Bridge Replacement Project about a mile down the road from Waikane Bridge. Officials will be rescheduling a meeting to get feedback on the project from the community. The last meeting that was scheduled on October 30, 2018 was cancelled due to dangerous flooding conditions. 

Click here  to find out more about the  Waiahole Bridge Replacement Project .


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