Heavy rain from Hurricane Lane triggers flash floods in East Hawaii

Local News

The impacts of Hurricane Lane have started to reach Hawaii island, and the county’s emergency officials are urging residents to stay vigilant.

It was a wet Wednesday in Hilo with Lane bringing rain to much of the east side of the island.

A flash flood warning was extended for East Hawaii until 3:45 a.m. Thursday.

Flooding closed Bayfront Highway Wednesday night. Traffic was diverted through town.

Shortly after, Civil Defense reported even more closures: Kamehameha Avenue, Pauahi Street, Kukila Street, E. Kawailani Street from Awapuhi Street to Nohona Street, and Pohaku Drive from 39th to 40th avenues in Orchidlands Estates.

Water levels on the Honolii Stream and Wailuku River are very high and continuing to rise. Streams and drainages in the area around and north of Hilo may be overflowing, causing property damage and dangerous road conditions.

Radar and rain gauges show persistent rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour, as outer rain bands from Hurricane Lane continue to stream into windward sections of the Big Island.

Additional flash flooding is likely to develop across windward sections of the Big Island during the night due to the persistent heavy rains.

Hawaii island residents have seen their fair share of disasters, preparing for lava, Hector, and now Lane.

Mia Carter lives in Orchidlands Estates. While it typically floods in her neighborhood, she says Wednesday’s flooding was heavier than usual.

“Right now the rain bands are very pronounced as they hit. One minute it’s torrential downpour with almost zero visibility and the next it is dry with clear skies. It’s intensifying as the evening carries on,” she said.

At Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters, Mayor Harry Kim says the island started a 24-hour emergency watch three nights ago. Crews have been busy clearing streams, and closing parks and camping areas.

With the threat of storm surge, big surf, and hurricane force winds, officials opened up a second emergency operations center at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kona.

The mayor says he’s hoping for minimal impacts from the storm.

“Without a doubt, it’s surf and surge. When there’s rain, there’s obviously problems. but surf and surge, because we’re a tourist industry here and people live by the beach, hotels all by the beach, we have thousands of people along the coastal area and this hurricane has a potential of generating some very huge surf and surge,” Kim said.

With flash flooding a huge concern, evacuation shelters are now open on the west side of the island:

Hookena Elementary School: 86-4355 Mamalahoa Highway, Captain Cook

Kamehameha Park Hisaoka Gym: 54-382 Kamehameha Park Road, Kapaau *Pet Friendly

Kealakehe High School: 74-5000 Puohulihuli Street, Kailua-Kona *Pet Friendly

Waikoloa Elementary & Middle School: 68-1730 Ho’oko Street, Waikoloa

Konawaena High School Gym: 81-1043 Konawaena School Road, Kealakekua

All public schools and the University of Hawaii campuses are closed until further notice.

All non-emergency County operations are suspended tomorrow, including transfer stations. The Hele On bus service will remain open.

All beach parks, from South Point north to Kohala, will be closed until further notice. All pavilion and camping permits for these parks have been canceled.

South Point Road from the Kamaoa Road junction to South Point is closed to all traffic.

Residents in low-lying areas of Kau and Kona subject to wave impacts must take necessary precautions to protect life and property due to dangerous storm surge and large waves.

All residents should review preparedness plans and take early precautionary measures at this time.

The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) advises all boat owners in unprotected harbors from Milolii to Mahukona to take all measures to secure their vessels. This includes removal, if possible. Complete all actions before nightfall.

Click here for more information from Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Click here for the latest county information from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

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