Friday, February 9, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, February 9, 2001

Kaua'i rains flood hotel, close roads

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Staff Writer

LIHU‘E, Kaua‘i — Torrential rains were focused on the island’s north shore today, flooding hotel rooms at Princeville and closing roads throughout the area from Hanalei to Ha'ena.

Civil Defense authorities said they received calls requesting sand bags to prevent flood waters from entering businesses, and there was some flooding on lower floors of the Hanalei Bay Resort.

Propane tanks ripped from their pipes and floated away as water rushed through several residential properties at Wainiha, but firefighters said there were no injuries. There were no evacuations and no reports of major damage late today.

The National Weather Service reported that Wainiha had nearly 9 inches of rain and Hanalei more than 10 inches in the 24 hours before 2 p.m. today. By late afternoon, most of the rainfall had stopped.

“It came down pretty quick,” said Hobey Beck of Hanalei Poi Co.

The main problem associated with the heavy rains was the rising of rivers islandwide. Kaua‘i District state highways chief Steve Kyono said the Waimea River rose to within four feet of its banks, and the approaches to the Hanalei and Wainiha Bridges were impassable due to water pouring over the roads.

Beck said he was unable due to flooding to get a load of fresh poi to the interisland barge. “They closed the road right ahead of me.”

Hanalei Elementary School and Kula School near Kilauea were closed and students were sent home before Kuhio Highway was closed by flooding near the Hanalei Bridge.

The American Red Cross opened emergency shelters for those unable to reach their homes, but the highway was reopened shortly before 4 p.m. as flood waters subsided.

Highways crews cleared landslides and debris from roads at Lumaha‘i and outside Waimea.

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