Sunday, October 31, 2004

Dan Rubinoff looked at a pile of cars washed up on a tree last night near the Woodlawn Drive bridge over Manoa Stream. According to Rubinoff, the flash flood "sounded like a freight train."

Rain floods Manoa

Homes and UH-Manoa experience flooding

More rain may make for a damp Halloween today

A sudden heavy thundershower on Oahu flooded Manoa Stream last night, washing away cars and cutting off the upper part of Manoa from the rest of Honolulu.

At the Woodlawn Drive bridge over Manoa Stream, three cars could be seen, caught by a tree, dangling over the edge of the stream. Another car may have been washed into the stream, witnesses said. Another half-dozen cars were further down the road and ended up against light posts or stuck in debris.

Dana Stoker, who lives in a private lane in the 3100 block of East Manoa Road, said Manoa Stream, which runs behind her home, started to rise around 7 p.m.

Within a few hours, it was 4 feet high and overran a hollow tile wall in front of her house.

"It was just starting to seep under the door," Stoker added.

Stoker's neighbors said the last time water was that high was at least 40 years ago.

Cars in the private lane were swept several feet by the raging waters. Some were piled on top of others.

Flooding and road closures were also reported on Kalakaua Avenue between Makaloa and Phillips streets, where a stream that runs parallel to the road overflowed, and on Kamehameha Highway near the H-3 freeway and between Puuhale and Middle streets.

A flash flood warning was in effect for Oahu until 10:15 last night.

The National Weather Service said Manoa Stream also overflowed its banks near the Manoa Marketplace and was flowing through the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus.

"There's major flooding everywhere on campus," said a campus security officer. "People are stuck everywhere on campus."

The rain gauge at Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley reported 8.36 inches of rain in six hours.

National Weather Service Forecaster Bob Farrell said a band of heavy showers passed over Oahu from Kalihi Valley to Manoa Valley.

He said the chance of showers, perhaps even heavy rain, will continue today and it could be a damp Halloween for trick-or-treaters.

However, he said, he does not expect more flooding.

Several cars were stranded on Oahu Avenue near Manoa Marketplace last night due to the heavy rains.

As floodwaters began to subside last night, property damage was evident, but no injuries were immediately reported.

Last night just after 9 p.m., Cindy Urbanc was driving on Oahu Avenue when "the street lights suddenly went out.

"I could see where I was going and before I knew it water was up to my seat."

She said she had just picked up her 2000 Jeep Cherokee two days ago.

The parking lot for the University of Hawaii Innovation Center instantly became a small lake as Manoa Stream, which borders both the UH facility and the Manoa Shopping Center, overflowed.

Water gushed onto Oahu Avenue, closing the road.

Several cars were seen floating out of the university faculty housing complex across the street from the Innovation Center.

"My husband is going to be mad," Urbanc told several bystanders who helped to push her car to the side of the road when the rain subsided just before 9:30 p.m.

Forecaster Tim Craig said the weather should clear up by Election Day.

The forecast is for partly cloudy weather, with some scattered showers, not enough to put much of a damper on voter turnout.



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