Heavy Rains Cause Flooding In East Oahu

Flooding Forces Police To Close Roadways

 UPDATED 6:36 AM HST Mar 06, 2012
OAHU, Hawaii -

A slow moving storm system that drenched parts of the state for the past four days caused flooding in East Oahu on Tuesday while also forcing the closure of a section of Kalanianaole Highway.

The National Weather Service says a line of heavy thunderstorms remained nearly stationary over parts of Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kahala and Waimanalo for several hours. The storm brought bouts of hail and several low-lying streets were flooded.

"The ground gets quite saturated, so it can't hold very much more," said Michael Cantin, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS Honolulu office.

Residents who live along Wailupe Place in Aina Haina were forced to move their cars out of the path of fast rising runoff that inundated the private road in a matter of hours.

"We moved our cars into the garage and that seemed safe until about 10 when it seemed like the cars would get flooded," said Jeremy Bennett, a Wailupe Place resident for the past six years.

While Bennett's vehicles were spared damage, others weren't so lucky. Mark Goto arrived from his job at the post office to find water rising above the undercarriage of his 2004 Ford Mustang Shelby, which he purchased just a month ago.

"I don't want to look at it," Goto said with a nervous laugh. "I'll just wait till the water goes down."

Honolulu fire fighters brought in pumps to move as much water as possible from the roadway, but with other nearby streets and driveways also covered by water, crews were stretched thin.

Groundskeeper Robert Carlos spent much of his morning trying to keep water from entering a home at 5253 Kalanianaole Highway that hosts Japanese weddings. He went through dozens of towels without making much progress.

"It was insane," said Carlos. "It was just pouring everywhere -- cats and dogs!"

The home was scheduled to host a wedding later in the afternoon, and Carlos and his colleagues were left scrambling.

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