Seagull Elementary School in Kapolei was sandbagged and closed early yesterday due to flooding.

Flooding, power outages
disrupt several Oahu

Some students got to go home early because they were just plain soggy, others because the lights went out or water seeped into their classrooms as a storm enveloped Oahu and Kauai yesterday, closing several schools.

The electricity failed at 9 a.m. for 1,850 students at Waianae High School, and officials closed the school two hours later because of the lack of lighting and refrigeration, according to Principal JoAnn Kumasaka.

"It's pretty dark in the classrooms," she said as parents streamed into the parking lot to pick up their children. "We don't have light. The rain is really bad; it's just soaking. ... Our canal is almost to the top."

On the other side of the island, Kahuku High and Intermediate School stayed open, but more than 50 of the school's 1,850 students got parental permission to go home early "just because they're soaking wet, chattering, unable to focus," said acting Principal Pat Macadangdang.

"We do have a lot of wet kids," she said. "It wasn't that they purposely got wet." Kahuku's football field flooded, along with an access road, and puddles filled the campus quad.

Seagull Schools Kapolei, which serves 240 students in preschool through first grade along with 25 senior citizens, had to shut down despite efforts to prepare for the deluge.

Director Jayne Arasaki said firefighters had dug trenches at the school Thursday, and Grace Pacific Corp. and Continental Mechanical of the Pacific donated and placed sandbags. But the driving rain overwhelmed those measures.

"We are flooding," she said yesterday after calling parents to pick up their children. "Water is coming into all of our buildings. The teachers are sweeping the water away. It's a swimming pool in our parking lot."

Other schools that shut down on Oahu because of the weather included Ke Kula 'O Samuel M. Kamakau Public Charter School in Kaneohe, Redemption Academy in Kailua and Holy Family Catholic Academy near the airport. On Kauai, Hanalei Elementary School closed because the bridge over the Hanalei River was shut.

Waianae Intermediate School lost its electricity twice yesterday, once for an hour and once for 30 minutes, and about half of its students got picked up early, according to Wanda Deguzman, school administrative services assistant.

Makaha Elementary students had lunch served in their classrooms after their cafeteria flooded. At Haleiwa Elementary, staff members used squeegees to keep the water from seeping into classrooms.


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