Akuna Jerry pumped away water yesterday caused by heavy rain at Ron's Auto Parts & Performance in the Mapunapuna industrial area.

‘We‘re all
under water’

Soggy Mapunapuna shops clean up
after an expensive downpour

Mapunapuna business owners who spent yesterday mopping up after the weekend's heavy rains say flooding caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to their shops.

"I have a swimming pool here," said Ron Uemura, owner of Ron's Auto Parts & Performance at 2760 Kilihau St., who estimated about 18 inches of muddy water flooded into his store, office and warehouse and caused $250,000 in damage.

He and other area merchants expect their businesses to be closed for a week for the cleanup from what they described as the worst flooding ever for the business district.

"We're all under water," said Uemura. "It's everywhere."

Some business owners on Ahua and Kilihau streets complained about the storm drainage system that backs up during heavy rains in conjunction with the high tide. Others speculated that water from Moanalua Stream backed up, sending thick mud and debris over streets and parking lots on Ahua and Paa streets.

In Salt Lake, "water hazard" took on new meaning at the Honolulu Country Club's rain-soaked course.

City spokeswoman Carol Costa said the city and landowner Damon Estate are months into a $100,000 joint study on how to fix flooding problems in Mapunapuna.

"We have a consultant on board to identify the causes of this problem on Ahua Street," said Costa. "We are seeking to identify some of the causes of the flooding during the high tide and cost of implications of the remedies that will be determined."

Uemura said he is thinking about relocating to avoid further water damage. "It's going to happen again," he said. "I don't want to be put at risk again."

Mike Leary, owner of Island Demo Inc. at 2769 Kilihau St., said there was four feet of water outside his business when he arrived at 4 a.m. yesterday.

Leary said cars were floating in the middle of Ahua Street, and a 6,000-pound scale was lifted by the water that flowed into his driveway. He estimated that he faces $80,000 in damage and plans to reopen tomorrow. "The drainage always backs up during high tide," said officer manager Kathy Kendall.

Medallion, a wholesale flooring distribution company at 645 Ahua St., remained opened yesterday despite mud that surrounded the area and covered the warehouse floor.

"This is the worst," said assistant manager Kevin Coronas, adding that two feet of water flowed into the warehouse.

Workers at Pizza Hut, Chevron, Nick's Cafe and other businesses near the intersection of Ahua and Paa streets were busy cleaning up their stores and the thick mud that covered their parking lots. Some businesses hired cleaning companies to pump out water and clean their carpets.

"This is ridiculous," said Nina Patchrapong, owner of Nick's Cafe at 1052 Ahua St., where mud and tree branches covered the restaurant's parking lot. "Somebody has to help out."

The National Weather Service estimated that 8.38 inches of rain fell in Moanalua between 5 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. yesterday as a storm system stalled over Oahu.

Between 12:30 p.m. and midnight Sunday, the Honolulu Fire Department received about 80 calls for assistance relating to flooding, said fire Capt. Emmit Kane.

About 10 volunteers from the Oahu Civil Defense worked through the night assisting with flooding and road closures from Waiahole to Mililani.

Civil Defense officials also received reports of manhole covers on Kaukonahua Road that were blown off by rainwater, said spokesman John Cummings. Nobody was injured, he said.

Cassy Shinabarger, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, said cleanup kits that include disinfectants, brooms and mops were distributed to two families in Salt Lake and Kalihi Valley yesterday. Another Salt Lake family was assisted with food and cleaning equipment last night, Shinabarger said.

Unstable air and a lack of tradewinds allowed thunderstorms to develop particularly over Oahu and Kauai, said National Weather Service forecaster Bob Farrell.

Tradewinds returned overnight. Farrell said the tradewinds should last most of the week bringing “more normal kind of showers for the island.”


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