Officials warn of another milder storm coming Wednesday
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For 14 years Dawn and Jerome Nozawa have had a traveling petting zoo business they call Nozawa's Ark.
Thursday morning when mud "the consistency of pudding" oozed ankle-deep through their Kaaawa home and water coursed through outdoor pens for their 70 animals, they started wishing for a real ark, Dawn Nozawa said yesterday.
She credits Honolulu firefighters for saving the house by diverting the liquid landslide with improvised rock and plywood barriers on Thursday.
On Friday, friends and neighbors helped dig the house and driveway out of the mud. And yesterday the family began sorting through wet belongings.
Like many others in the rain-soaked stretch from Kahuku to Kahaluu, the Nozawas have a sense of urgency, because the National Weather Service is forecasting more showers over Oahu on Wednesday.
National Weather Service lead forecaster Tim Craig said Wednesday's rain should not be as dramatic as that seen last week, when Punaluu got nearly 23 inches and Kualoa saw 16 over a 60-hour period.
But, he added, there is a real possibility of more flooding because the ground is saturated and will have little chance to dry out over the next few days, with light to moderate "tradewind showers" in the forecast.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dawn Nozawa stood yesterday by her back door, where runoff from a mudslide hit her family's Kaaawa ranch. Firefighters, family, friends and neighbors came over to help during the downpours this week. The Nozawas operate a petting zoo and have about 70 animals living on their property. All the animals survived the flooding, except for one baby lamb.
FLOOD CLEANUP TIPS
» Call the Fire Department for any noticeable chemical odor or spilled container of a hazardous material.
» Remove all floodwater, dirt, and debris left behind by the floodwater. Wear gloves, rubber or hard-soled boots, safety goggles and a face mask with a "NIOSH" approval and an N-95 rating.
» Moldy or mildewed building materials should be thoroughly cleaned and dried or removed and replaced. Any furnishings, carpet or padding that soaked up water should be removed and thrown away.
» Personal property, clothes and furnishings that are moist or wet 24 hours after floodwater recedes will have mold growing in or on them. Wash clothing and linens with chlorine bleach and detergent. Discard porous materials that cannot be laundered and disinfected.
» Wet moldy areas with a soapy solution from a spray bottle to prevent the mold from getting into the air before you clean.
» Nonporous surfaces should be cleaned with a liquid chlorine bleach solution (one cup bleach to one gallon water). Let the bleach solution remain on the surface for at least 15 minutes before rinsing and drying. To speed drying, keep fresh air circulating.
» If you get a cut or a puncture wound that is exposed to sewage, floodwater, or the dirt it leaves behind, see a doctor.
State and city officials are working through the weekend to assess the damage, clean up and prepare for the possibility of more flooding.
Fifty Air Force and Army National Guard members will focus their efforts, starting today, on helping two houses in Kaaawa with a standing water problem, removing tree branches near the Kaaawa bridge, and helping the landslide victims, said Ed Teixeira, the state vice director of Civil Defense.
Red Cross workers said yesterday morning that 37 homes have been affected by flooding, but only three severely, said Teixeira.
He said the state may open disaster assistance centers for people affected by the flood on Thursday or Friday, after the expected rain on Wednesday.
Teixeira, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and other officials surveyed Windward and North Shore areas affected by the heavy rains during a helicopter tour yesterday.
After his fly-over of the Windward coast yesterday, Aiona said he was happy to see that the land was drying out and that bridges and roads were intact.
"It didn't look too bad, not as bad as I expected," he said. "But if you speak to some of the residents, I'm not too sure that they would agree with that."
A key area of concern is a landslide area near Crouching Lion, where state crews started yesterday to move tons of dirt, rock and trees that had fallen down a 75-foot hillside Thursday and narrowly missed the home of Doug Kekona and a neighbor.
Kekona's friends arrived at about 4:45 p.m. with an excavator to begin removing landslide debris from his driveway at 51-658 Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa.
David Hee and his son David Hee Jr. of D and C Plumbing planned to work until dark clearing the debris and to come back today, Kekona said.
"This is pretty serious," Kekona said. "But it could have been a lot worse. All that rubble and stuff could have ended up in my living room."
Kekona said he hopes that today the driveway can be repaired enough so that he and his mother, who have been unable to get their cars out since the landslide buried their driveway at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, can leave.
State geologists recommended they leave before the next heavy rain, until a better assessment of the hillside stability can be made, Kekona said. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources owns the conservation land mauka of the houses.
Already gone are Ione Maiava, manager of the Crouching Lion Inn, who lives with her husband, Pisaga, in a house between the restaurant and Kekona's home. The Maiavas are staying with relatives in Kaneohe since Thursday.
"I don't feel nervous, maybe because I wasn't home when it happened," Maiava said at the restaurant, which reopened yesterday after being closed Thursday and Friday because of the weather.
"My husband was, and he heard a rumble he thought was thunder until he saw the tree go right by the window," Maiava said.
Despite intensive work at the homes hit with flooding, many of the signs of ordinary life were back yesterday on the Windward coast.
Roadside fruit and shrimp stands in Kahuku were busy. The Polynesian Cultural Center was open.
Traffic moved smoothly on a Kamehameha Highway that seemed none the worse for wear -- even in areas where millions of gallons of water rushed over it between Wednesday and Friday. A few areas between Kahana and Kualoa still had clear water seeping over the road as the mountains continued to drain.
Despite health department warnings to stay out of the ocean on Windward and North shores until runoff clears, dozens were surfing on the North Shore and two people were kite-surfing in light brown, choppy waters off Kaaawa.
Nozawa said she is grateful that none of her eight children, four of whom live at home, was hurt by the landslide. Of a menagerie of animals that includes sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, goats, horses, ponies, donkeys, rabbits, llamas and zebu (a miniature Indian cattle), they lost only one lamb to the flood.