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StarBulletin.com

Waterlogged Waikane


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POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2009

Local heavy showers flooded parts of Waikane Valley yesterday, causing police to close Kamehameha Highway and firefighters to investigate a report of stranded vehicles.

The flooding came during an islandwide flash flood advisory caused by daytime heating of the land along with enough moisture in the air to cause locally heavy showers in several areas.

Rain fell at 2 p.m. at the rate of 4 to 6 inches per hour along the Koolau Range and Windward coast near Waikane, the National Weather Service said.

Police closed Kamehameha Highway shortly before 3 p.m. for about 2 1/2 hours because of flash flooding at Waikane Valley Road.

The flooding caused firefighters to investigate a report of cars caught in Waikane Stream.

Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said a woman reported her boyfriend called her from Waikane Valley and said some cars were flooded before the phone connection was lost at about 3 p.m.

Firefighters dispatched two fire engines, a rescue company, a battalion chief and a helicopter to investigate.

Firetrucks could not reach the area because water from Waikane Stream was flowing onto Waikane Valley Road and Kamehameha Highway, so Air One dropped off some firefighters, who found two vehicles mostly underwater and three stuck in the mud, Seelig said.

Several people were in the area but did not need help and did not own the vehicles, Seelig said.

Firefighters left the area at about 4:45 p.m. after they determined no one needed assistance and that the vehicles may have been abandoned.

There were no other reports of property damage, although floodwaters appeared to have surrounded at least one house.

Ewa resident Perry Barker was hiking near Waiahole Valley Road yesterday morning when he saw it start pouring at about 11:30 a.m. He watched as Waiahole Stream rose from 6 inches to about 3 feet deep in five minutes.

“;I started to hear this rumbling,”; he said, and looked to see the rushing water coming down the stream. He helped two other hikers across the stream before it grew from about a foot wide to 12 feet wide.

“;I was really charged up trying to help,”; he said.

An islandwide flood advisory was canceled yesterday afternoon.