Neighbors band together to fight off floodwaters
Anthony Nery Jr. has lived in his Otake Camp home in Waialua long enough to know the drill when the swollen Kaukonahua Stream rises.
He and his family moved their belongings upstairs while he readied his hunting dogs to be packed up should floodwaters flow onto his property.
"I'm just in standby mode. I'm just standing by for the worst," Nery said yesterday.
Across the island in Hauula, Elton Kaahu's tired eyes peered at the stream near his home the day after he and his neighbors fought to keep its wild waters from ravaging their Hauula Homestead Road neighborhood.
"I didn't sleep much. We worrying, yeah," he said.
Further south, 6-year-old Skylar Au-Juarez pretended to shovel sand at Kualoa Ranch as his mother, Sherry Au, loaded about 15 free sandbags into the back of her car to protect her and her neighbor's home from flooding.
"We can't take the chance," Au said.
From Waiahole to Wahiawa, residents prepared for nasty weather to hit as ominous storm clouds hovered over Oahu.
Oahu Civil Defense officials went house to house along Kaupe Road yesterday morning to notify Otake Camp residents that they might have to evacuate as a continuous downpour overflowed the Wahiawa Reservoir -- also known as Lake Wilson -- sending the excess downriver, posing a potential flood hazard to the former plantation housing.
A.D. Botin's rented duplex backs up against the roaring stream, but he was not worried and did not think he needed to evacuate.
"I've stayed here five years, and it never went into my house," said the 50-year-old mechanic, who works for a Waialua hauling company. "I think it's all right."
By noon the rain slowed and eventually stopped, and the Otake residents were safe -- at least for the remainder of the day.
"I feel for the people on the Windward side. We not in as bad predicament as they are," said Otake resident Frank Lawrence, 54.
On the Windward side, Andrew Chase and his 14-year-old son, Chase, was among the half-dozen or so people filling pillowcases and plastic bags at a property next to the Ohana Family of the Living God Church on Hauula Homestead Road.
Civil Defense officials dropped off 50,000 pounds of white sand earlier in the morning. They were filling the back of their pickup truck with filled bags for them and their neighbors.
"Just to help, because you need to help," Andrew Chase said.
Sadrian Chee Jr., son of the church's pastor, said he saw his neighbors come up all morning to take sandbags to those who could not make the trip.
"This flood is bringing everyone together," Chee said. "There are a lot of people gathering around to help, and I think that's really good."
The Chase family was among those who created a sandbag bridge near Kaahu's home to divert stream waters to a nearby drainage ditch. Kaahu used his trucks as a dam.
Because Wednesday night's flash flood in Hauula came up so quickly, yesterday was spent fortifying their homes in case it happened again.
"The ground is so saturated ... we just need to be prepared," Andrew Chase said.
Preparation was also on the minds of those who took advantage of the free sandbag giveaway at Kualoa Ranch that was made possible by several businesses.
Mark Salangdron of Wahiawa said he thought it was a worthwhile trip to travel to Kualoa for the sandbags for his home, which gets hit with water and debris when it rains hard.
"All the water and the opala just flows," he said.