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Surveying the damage


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POSTED: Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hauula resident Shon Kaanaana's home was on the brink of falling into Kaipapau Stream as a flash-flood watch continued through late last night and more rain was expected for the Hawaiian Islands.

“;If it rains one more time tonight, guarantee it's going to go into the river,”; Kaanaana said. “;The river is running underneath the house.”;

Kaanaana and some other residents said they want the state to conduct an investigation into how to reduce the flooding.

State Board of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward said officials were trying to determine who owned the stream and had not received a request for an investigation by residents.

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On Kauai, state health officials issued a “;brown water advisory”; advising residents to stay out of coastal waters until further notice, due to storm runoff potentially contaminating shoreline water with pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals and cesspool overflows.

Surf with 20-foot faces on Kauai were reported at Anahola, Haena and Kee beaches.

National Weather Service forecaster Victor DeJesus said the rainy weather was expected to linger with some improvement by today.

He said some rain was expected through next week, but not as much as yesterday morning, when some isolated areas received several inches in a 12-hour period.

A forest area in Windward Oahu received 5.39 inches in 12 hours yesterday, while many areas on the Leeward side received none.

Similar rain patterns occurred on other islands: Oheo Gulch in East Maui received 5.62 inches in 12 hours while West Maui received none, and the Big Island's Hilo Airport had 4.26 inches compared with none for Kona Airport.

DeJesus said a low-pressure system east-southwest of the islands was causing tradewinds to blow in an east-southeast direction that pulls deeper moisture from the tropics.

He said the tradewinds are expected to eventually return to their normal pattern of blowing east-northeast.

“;The chance for heavy rainfall continues through (today) ... but improving on Sunday ... especially for windward areas,”; he said.

“;It's wintertime. This happens, and it possibly is going to happen again.”;

Kaipapau Stream rose over its banks and 20 feet under Kaanaana's one-bedroom home, leaving a backyard trench 15 feet deep.

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Kaanaana, whose sister owns the property, said he awoke yesterday at 3:30 a.m. to the sound of rushing water.

“;It was like thunder,”; he said.

“;You could hear a lot of boulders moving.”;

Kaanaana said a similar flood took out a retaining wall last December, allowing the stream to enter deeper into the property.

Kaanaana said the stream is not being cleared of rocks, cow grass and other debris, contributing to the flooding.

“;It's a mess over here,”; he said.

Hauula resident Terri Maneha said some residents dug a trench where a sand bank close to the height of the bridge was stopping the flow of stream water in the ocean.

“;Once they dug there, the stream water gushed out and cleared,”; she said.

Maneha, whose family suffered losses in a flood in 2006, said she suspects other factors may be contributing to the flooding, including new water coming from a nearby field.

She said her family and many others do not grow plants in the back yard because of the flooding problem.

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