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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Kaua'i, O'ahu, Big Island hit hardest by winter rain

 •  2nd dam failure feared

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

T.J. Gearhart, 17, of Hanalei, and Ivyr Lluellen, 16, of Moloa'a, watch the roaring waters at the edge of Bette Midler's waterfall near the enter-tainer's former Kaua'i home. The boys were "amazed" at the physical trans-formation of the once-tranquil neighborhood spot where they swam when they were younger.

PETER BOYLAN | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The mud and floods the Islands have suffered recently come down to one undeniable reality, said Kevin Kodama, senior hydrologist at the National Weather Service:

"A lot of rain and it has to run off someplace."

Kodama said Kaua'i, O'ahu and the Big Island have been hit hardest. Of those, Kaua'i has been nailed the worst.

For example, from March 8 to yesterday, Kodama said, Kaua'i's Mount Wai'ale'ale had been slogged with a washout of biblical proportions more than 42 inches of rain. And it had been raining heavily on Kaua'i the week before that, he said.

"That's quite a bit of water," Kodama said. "Now, granted, not all if it will run specifically into a stream, but that gives you some idea of the magnitude of this."

In the five days leading up to yesterday, Wai'ale'ale got 25.16 inches of rain, Lihu'e Airport 10.66 inches, Hanalei River 10.64 inches and Wailua 10.14 inches.

During the same time, Poamoho on O'ahu and Glenwood on the Big Island were waterlogged with 11.25 inches and 10.90 inches respectively, with other parts of both islands also reporting higher than usual rainfall.

Kodama said there won't be much relief in the days to come.

"We're looking at pretty much unstable conditions through Saturday," he said. "We'll have to see what comes our way next."

One possibility: Visit Maui.

"Maui County has been pretty lucky," Kodama said. "For the most part, Maui has missed out so far."

Reach Will Hoover at whoover@honoluluadvertiser.com.