Saturday, November 6, 2004


After shopping at Nordstrom Rack in Kakaako yesterday, Willie Schutz, left, of Canada, and Jeannie Pomroy, of Hilo, devised some makeshift rain gear from store bags to brace against the downpour.

Forecasters fear rain
will trigger Oahu floods

Showers that have soaked
the ground for days are likely
to remain through next week

Meteorologists are worried that heavy showers over the weekend could cause flooding on Oahu, where days of rain have already soaked the ground.

Rainfall on Oahu

Here is the amount of rain that fell on parts of Oahu over the 24 hours ending at 8:45 p.m. yesterday:

» Honolulu Airport: 2.45 inches
» Waianae: 3.12 inches
» Kunia: 2.77 inches
» Maunawili: 2.25 inches
» Wheeler Army Airfield: 1.57 inches
» Punaluu Pump: 1.55 inches

"Everything's wet," said National Weather Service lead forecaster Bob Farrell. "If there is a heavy rain, there could be a danger of flooding."

A flash flood watch for Oahu and Kauai was in effect through this morning, and will likely be extended. The weather service also issued an urban and small stream flood advisory last night for Oahu, especially Waimalu, Niu Valley and Ewa Beach.

Weather service forecaster Pete Donaldson said heavy showers were expected to drench Oahu overnight, and continue for parts of the island this morning.

The rain will likely stick around through midweek, he added.

"The rain is probably going to be pretty widespread, with individual heavy showers," he said. "It looks like it's going to stay somewhat unsettled until Wednesday, when the tradewinds return."

He said the heavy rains are being caused by a cold front northwest of Kauai, which is creating a moist unstable air mass over the state.

Showers soaked much of Oahu yesterday, with residents from Manoa to Punaluu getting more than an inch of rain over the 24 hours ending at 5:45 last night.

Waianae was the wettest place on the island, with 3.12 inches of rain over the 24 hours ending at 8:45 last night.

Downtown commuters braved the weather during rush hour yesterday at a bus stop at King and Punchbowl streets.

On Kauai, Princeville Airport and Port Allen got about an inch of rain while Kokee saw more than 2 inches.

Farrell said a line of heavy showers off both Oahu and Kauai could move onshore overnight and today. Forecasters didn't know where the rains would be concentrated.

"The conditions are ripe for flash flooding," Farrell said. "It looks like this pattern could stick around through the weekend, with a little more stability on Monday."

Mapunapuna businesses hit by heavy flooding last winter were preparing for the rains yesterday, stocking up on sandbags and getting goods off the floor.

"It hasn't come into the property yet," said Mark Higa, of Ron's Auto Parts & Performance. "Since our last flood, we tried not to put anything at ground level."

Meanwhile, sales associates at Kilgo's in Sand Island and Safety Systems Hawaii Inc. on Waiakamilo Road said yesterday that sandbags, tarpaulins and rain gear were selling fast.

Last night, Oahu Civil Defense crews were checking streams in Manoa to guard against a repeat of last weekend's flood, which damaged more than 140 homes and several University of Hawaii-Manoa buildings.

"We just checked the areas that were most vulnerable because of last week's floods," said Peter Hirai, civil defense plans and operations officers. "The streams are flowing pretty well."

The agency also opened a shelter at Manoa District Park as a precaution.

Showers slowed afternoon rush-hour traffic to a crawl. And throughout the day, the weather service got reports of "nuisance flooding" on roadways.

Farrell said heavy ponding occurred in the afternoon on Farrington Highway, while large puddles were was also reported on Kamehameha Highway near Kahuku last night.

Also, Wainiha Road on Kauai was closed for several hours yesterday because of minor flooding.

The wet forecast also caused the cancellation of Sunset on the Beach this weekend, city officials said.



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