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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 1:30 p.m., Friday, March 31, 2006

O'ahu rains cause widespread problems

Advertiser Staff

Extensive flooding, slides and fallen trees are being reported as a result of heavy rains hammering O'ahu since this morning, with residents of Manoa being told to be prepared to evacuate because of rising waters in Manoa Stream.

The Longs parking lot in Manoa has about a foot of water, said John Cummings, of O'ahu Civil Defense spokesman. Cummings said there is no blockage in the stream, but the water is rising so fast that emergency workers are advising residents behind Noelani Elementary to be prepared to evacuate.

Makiki Stream has already overflowed twice today, emergency workers said. The situation is particularly bad near Washington Middle School, where the stream jumped its banks and forced the closure of Kalakaua Boulevard. Honolulu police officer Nelson Tamayori, a lifetime resident of O'ahu, was working the intersection of Phillip Street and Kalakaua this morning when the water overflowed.

"I've never seen it like this before, ever," he said. "This is a first for me."

The flooding caused by Makiki Stream and in other areas this morning has been extensive.

"It looks like it's flooding out possibly by Ke'eaumoku and the upper part of Makiki and as far down as Kalakaua Boulevard," said Cummings.

H-1 at Middle Street is also experiencing major flooding, Cummings said. Rising water has closed the townbound lane of H-1 near Vineyard, forcing traffic to a near standstill.

Drivers are also reporting water one-foot deep at Kalakaua Avenue and Kapi'olani Boulevard, making it difficult for pedestrians to cross. In Kaimuki, on Waialae Avenue between Second Avenue and Sacred Hearts Academy, motorists were avoiding the outside lane because the water is so high they can't see the curb.

The rain also toppled two boats moored to docks in the Hawai'i Kai Marina.

Resident Gayle Carr said she looked out her window to see the already full marina lapping up over the side of her neighbor's boat moored at the dock. She sent her husband out and he was swept under the boat, which capsized.

"He almost got killed as the he got sucked under the dock," Carr said. "It's incredible."

Lightning strikes caused electricity to flicker as far west as Kahala Mall, causing shoppers to gasp. Power flicked on and off throughout the afternoon in East Honolulu. At the Hawai'i Kai fire station, firefighters had to help a homeowner who called to report his swimming pool overflowing, said Capt. Robert Thomas.

"There's a lot of things going on," Thomas said. "We have a lot of water on the road and the lights keep flickering on and off. We have a leak in our station."

Over on the farm land in the back of Kamilo Nui Valley, Dean Takebayashi, Chrysanthemums of Hawai'i owner, said the roadway into the farmland is flooded, blocking the main access into and out of the valley, home to 14 farmers.

"It's pretty bad here," Takebayashi said. "It's all flooded here. This is the worst I've ever seen it."