FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
State engineers Dickey Lee, left, and Eric Hirano inspected the landslide into swollen Kalihi Stream yesterday behind the home at 2600 Kalihi St. in Kalihi Valley.
Rains create more havoc
Twelve families flee as Kailua Reservoir swells to dangerous levels in the deluge
Heavy rains settled over Oahu yesterday on the heels of Friday's disastrous storm, spurring four landslides, closing roads and forcing the evacuation of more than 12 families who live below the state-owned Kailua Reservoir.
Last night, 34 people who left their Waimanalo homes after floodwaters threatened to overtop the Kailua Reservoir opted to stay at a shelter in Waimanalo District Park in case heavy rains returned. More evacuees were staying with family or friends.
Three landslides onto roadways slowed traffic in and out of Windward Oahu, where much of the heavy rain was situated.
One mudslide was reported on Kalanianaole Highway at Castle Junction. State Transportation Department spokesman Scott Ishikawa said the slide affected one Kailua-bound lane.
On Pali Highway, two small landslides disrupted town-bound traffic. Both were cleared quickly.
Parts of Kamehameha Highway in Laie and Waikane were also closed periodically throughout the day as water collected on the roadway, police and Oahu Civil Defense officials said.
At about 10 yesterday morning, a landslide behind a home at 2600 Kalihi St. sent a retaining wall and debris crashing into a privately owned section of Kalihi Stream.
Officials were worried the stream could back up, sending floodwaters into nearby homes.
Camilo Villanueva, who owns the home, said his cousin alerted him to the landslide. Several chicken coops that were in his back yard along with other debris went down in the slide.
He said another heavy shower would almost certainly send more of his property into the stream bed.
"We're going to watch it," he said, adding that he did not have enough money to hire a contractor to survey the land.
Officials started to worry about water heights at the Kailua Reservoir at about 2 p.m. yesterday. David Kalama, who lives just below the reservoir, said he stood atop the dam and watched water rise 10 feet in 14 minutes.
By 3:12 p.m., he said, water was going over the 2-foot-high by 8-foot-wide spillway, over a 40-foot-wide rock dam and cascading about 30 feet onto his property below.
"It came up really fast," Kalama said. "With more rains coming, I wouldn't consider it safe."
Fire Capt. Ben Suiso said the water spilling onto Kalama's land "looked like Niagara Falls."
LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARBULLETIN.COM
At Kailua Reservoir a reporter stood on the spillway where water overflowed yesterday.
In addition to homes below the reservoir, families who lived next to a stream and its tributary were advised to evacuate.
Arron Van Aken, whose home sits along the bank of a tributary of Waimanalo Stream, was evacuating with his family of seven yesterday. The water, normally six to eight feet away, was flowing just three feet from his home.
But as the rains subsided, so did waters in the reservoir and downstream streams.
"We got lucky," Suiso said. "Mother Nature helped out."
A flash-flood warning was in effect for Kauai last night, where heavy rains filled streams and caused the closure of the Hanalei Bridge along Kuhio Highway.
Officials opened a shelter at Kilauea Elementary School for those stranded by the closure.
Meanwhile, a flash-flood watch remained in effect for Oahu through this morning. Forecasters said scattered showers will persist for the island today.
Normal tradewind weather is expected to return by tomorrow, said weather service forecaster Maureen Ballard.
"We are looking at the upper-level system that is bringing the instability to be moving away from the state," she said, "but there still could be things that develop."
Poamoho saw the highest rainfall total on Oahu in the 24 hours ending at 8:45 last night, with more than 9 inches of rain. The Wilson Tunnel got 8.95 inches over the same period, and Maunawili saw more than 7 inches.
The rains overflowed streams across Windward Oahu and prompted one church to take in about 15 homeless people who were forced to flee from a camp on the banks of Kailua Stream.
The Kailua Church of the Nazarene has a classroom open for the homeless as long as there is a need.
"They're hard pressed to find a place right now," said Tina Dean, who attends Bible studies at the church and helped feed the homeless yesterday. "We have dry clothing, and we're helping them regroup after the flooding."
Also yesterday, the city decided to close the 2700 block of Round Top Drive after several mudslides in the area. The closure will be in effect until further notice.