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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 9, 2006

More rain prompts another flood alert

By Rod Ohira and Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writers

Oni Castro of Hau'ula was ankle deep in water last night in the front yard of 54-071 Hau'ula Homestead Road, the home of another Hau'ula resident. A flash flood warning was in effect on the Windward side at least until 11:45 p.m.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The State Civil Defense office and the O'ahu Civil Defense Agency will operate the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Kualoa Ranch, 49-560 Kamehameha Highway.

People can still call the Aloha United Way's 211 information and referral line to report damage to their homes and businesses.

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Heavy rain lashed La'ie, Hau'ula and other parts of Windward O'ahu last night, prompting road closures and bringing more misery to residents still cleaning up from last week's flooding.

A flash flood warning was in effect at least until 11:45 p.m. The National Weather Service said heavy rains were centered over Hau'ula and appeared stationary.

The rains followed last week's downpour that caused flooding and mudslides and damaged 111 homes.

Five or six families from Cackle Fresh Egg Farm in La'ie moved to higher ground because of rising water, said John Cummings, plans and operations officer for O'ahu Civil Defense.

Cummings said more rain was expected to hit the area about 1 a.m.

Police closed Kamehameha Highway in Punalu'u about 7:40 p.m. The fire department received several calls for assistance from residents reporting flooding on Hau'ula Homestead Road. In addition, a man there fell into rushing waters but was pulled to safety by a neighbor, fire Capt. Kenison Tejada said.

The flood warning came on the same day State Civil Defense and the O'ahu Civil Defense Agency announced the opening of a Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Kualoa Ranch.

Representatives from state and city agencies will be available to provide information about assistance that may be available under terms of the governor's State Disaster Proclamation and a county Emergency Declaration from the mayor's office. Nongovernmental agencies, including the Hawai'i Chapter of the American Red Cross, also will be there.

Yesterday's rains and today's weather forecast are not a good sign for weekend beachgoers, who've been kept out of Windward waters all week because of high brown-water contamination levels from sewage flooding.

Department of Health officials hoped the contamination levels would return to normal and beaches would reopen this weekend, but said that depended on how much rain the overly saturated areas got this week.

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy showers for Kaua'i and the east side of the Big Island today. O'ahu also will see rain, but forecasters are not sure of how much.

"We're paying close attention to the sensitive side in the Windward area," said Henry Lau, forecaster. "There's a possibility of isolated heavy showers."

The air mass, moving from the east and south, has been unstable statewide, Lau said, adding that it caused heavy rains on Kaua'i and the Big Island yesterday.

The trade winds should return by Saturday. For the weekend, windward and mauka showers are expected, he said.

Yesterday, work crews continued to clear streams, channels and culverts, said Ray Lovell, State Civil Defense spokesman.

"There was also crews from the state Department of Transportation, a private contractor and the National Guard working as part of the cleanup," he said.

Yamashiro Building Supply in Kane'ohe said last week's storm wiped them out of sandbags, but they still have sand. Sandbags are available at Kilgo's and Safety System Hawaii. Kilgo's said about 20 people called yesterday from the Neighbor Islands, Windward area and Honolulu looking for sandbags. Safety System will fill the bags, but customers should call ahead, said Micah Roquiero, Safety System's marketing coordinator.

In addition, businesses have donated sandbags and sand. Residents can pick them up from 2 to 6:30 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow at Kualoa Ranch and at the Ohana Family of the Living God Church at 54-058 Hau'ula Homestead Road. (See story, Page B3)

Punalu'u resident Sherry Candelaria said she's not concerned about the storm this weekend.

"I think we've had the worst," Candelaria said.

Reach Rod Ohira at rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com and Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com.

Correction: Oni Castro was shown standing in front of another Hau'ula resident's house. Information in a caption in a previous version of this story was incorrect.