Heavy rains flood Hawaii

Strong weekend storms drenched the Manoa Valley area of Honolulu, causing flash floods that damaged over 60 homes and numerous buildings on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.

BY HEATHER MOYER | HONOLULU, Hawaii | November 2, 2004


A Camp Noah kid splashes into the water slide pool.
Credit: Disaster News Network

Strong weekend storms drenched the Manoa Valley area of Honolulu, causing flash floods that damaged over 60 homes and numerous buildings on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.

According to Ray Lovell, public information officer for the Hawaii State Civil Defense Office, 64 homes suffered flood damage from Saturday and Sunday's heavy rains. "But we're still conducting assessments, that number could rise," he said. Damage to private residences is already estimated at $1 million.

The area received over 10 inches of rain in 12 hours, with Lovell noting that eight inches of that fell within a three-hour period on Saturday evening. The normally small and quiet stream in the valley quickly became a raging river.

"It was a fantastic amount of rain in a short period of time. I know I've lived here for 35 years and I've never seen anything like it. Some meteorologists say it was a 50-year flood."

And because of that, Lovell said none of the affected residents had flood insurance. Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle declared a state of emergency for the area on Sunday. If further damage assessments meet the requirements for a federal disaster declaration, Lovell said they would seek one.

Also severely damaged were numerous buildings on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Classes were canceled Monday and Tuesday as workers shoveled mud out of classrooms and libraries.

A disaster assistance recovery center will open Wednesday in the neighborhood, the only issue preventing it from opening Tuesday is that the facility is being used for an election day polling site.

Lovell said once the center is open, his office will be able to receive a clearer picture of the damage in the area. In the meantime, he added that the residents are following what he calls the typical Hawaiian way.

"Everybody's out there helping each other out, that's how we do it. Everyone's pitching in and helping each other clean up. It almost looks like a block party out there."


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