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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:42 p.m., Saturday, March 18, 2006

Crews fight rains to reduce Morita dam

Advertiser Staff

Advertiser Staff

Wailapa, Kaua'i—Excavators fought heavy rains today as they fought to reduce the height of the Morita dam, which has gone down by about half in the last two days.

While civil defense authorities say they have not given the order to demolish the dam, crews have created a deep curve in the dam top, which lowers its elevation to about 10 feet at its lowest point.

Heavy rains in the area today are preventing further construction work on the dam. The Morita reservoir's own drainage system is being used to remove water from behind what remains of the dam.

The Morita dam was undermined Tuesday morning by the flood waters caused by the catastrophic breach of Kaloko reservoir dam, about 1.5 miles upstream.

Meanwhile, a flash flood warning remains in effect for Kaua'i County until 2 p.m.

The National Weather Service Web site said that at 10:45 a.m., rain gages at Koke'e and Hanalei showed heavy showers falling at rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Weather radar indicates rates in excess of 3 inches per hour near Anahola, the service said.