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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 3:44 p.m., Thursday, March 9, 2006

State conducting weather damage assessment

Advertiser Staff

State officials, emergency responders and state Civil Defense teams are conducting a reconnaissance/assessment of the Windward O'ahu area today following heavy rains and flash flooding that occurred last night and today, a news release from the governor's office said.

State officials are also monitoring conditions throughout the state and making emergency preparations as more rain is forecasted by the National Weather Service, the release said.

Department of Transportation crews today cleared debris from under bridges and culverts, particularly in the Punalu'u and Hau'ula areas.

An emergency proclamation signed by Gov. Linda Lingle last Thursday enabled DOT to hire two contractors earlier this week to clear debris from under bridges, which minimized backup and flooding last night.

Last night, state crews also assisted city transportation crews in removing debris from Hau'ula Homestead Road, which had flooded.

State Health officials are continuing to monitor streams and beaches along the Windward Coast, the release said.

The Department of Health advises residents to stay out of streams and coastal and standing waters that are contaminated by storm water (usually brown or murky in color). Storm water may contain harmful micro-organisms (pathogens) from overflowing cesspools or septic tanks as well as animal feces washed into streams and storm drains.

Warning signs have been posted at affected beaches and streams.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has closed two state parks due to flooding Kahana Valley State Park and Malaekahana State Recreation Area. DLNR teams are assessing damage in the Windward area, as well as monitoring conditions of streams and hillsides statewide.

The Department of Agriculture (DOA) is continuing to assess the extent of damage to Windward farms and provide assistance.

DOA is also working with the USDA Farm Services Administration to determine if federal assistance would be available, the release said.

Farmers can call Dean Matsukawa of the Agricultural Loan Division at 973-9460 for additional information.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) reports no major damage to Hawaiian homes in the Waimanalo area. DHHL will assess whether farmers on homestead farm lots in the Waiahole area sustained damage.

A Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center (DARC) will be opened in Windward O'ahu to help people whose homes, businesses, farms, or other property were damaged by recent heavy rains and flooding. The center is at Kualoa Ranch, 49560 Kamehameha Hwy., Ka`a`awa. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

People whose property was damaged in the flooding can call the Aloha United Way's 2-1-1 Information and Referral line.

They will be asked to give their names, phone numbers, and details about the damage their homes or businesses sustained.

This information will be passed along to appropriate agencies.