LIHUE (AP) - Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared a disaster for Kauai and Oahu as the two islands battled the effects of heavy rains.
Citing damage to private and public property and a danger of further destruction, Abercrombie said that signing the proclamation Tuesday allows activating civil defense and other emergency functions if necessary. It comes after Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. signed a disaster declaration for the county on Monday.
Relentless rain since Saturday caused flooding and a sewage spill on Kauai. On Tuesday, the island was dealing with tree-blocked roads, dangerous surf and closed schools. On Oahu, there were warnings of possible hail, lightning, rockslides and water-clogged roads. A brown water advisory was issued for Oahu after two manholes overflowed and wastewater flowed into the ocean.
Bodyboarders get tube rides in some thick and meaty waves rolling into Kahului Harbor on Tuesday afternoon. The National Weather Service warned of high surf today, with waves generated by a north-northeast swell. Surf is expected to rise today to 15 to 20 feet high on north-facing shores.
The Maui News MATTHEW THAYER photo
A bodyboarder hangs on as a wave is about to close out Tuesday afternoon at Kahului Harbor.
The Maui News MATTHEW THAYER photo
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Kauai, Niihau, Oahu as well as the islands of Lanai, Maui and Molokai. It lifted a flash flood warning that had been in place for Kauai and Oahu.
Honolulu plans to temporarily close Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve today because of the heavy rains and surface runoff.
By late morning as rain tapered, Kauai County officials said road crews cleared much of the debris and mudslides on the north shore and police reopened one lane of Kuhio Highway. The south leg of Kapaa Temporary Bypass Road between Kuhio Highway and Olohena Road is closed indefinitely after a culvert collapsed under the roadway, state transportation officials said.
Kauai schoolchildren were kept home Tuesday from Hanalei School, Kilauea Elementary, Island School, Kapaa Elementary, Kapaa Middle and Kapaa High. Kapaa Middle School was functioning as an emergency shelter, where 33 people spent the night Monday.
The Hawaii chapter of the Red Cross said more than 50 others spent the night at three other shelters.
State workers in Honolulu on Tuesday continued to remove floating trash from the debris trap at the entrance to the Ala Wai small-boat harbor. Cleanup began Monday after the weekend rains washed large amounts of trash into the Ala Wai canal from communities in upslope areas.
Forecasters said showers are likely for today, with wind gusts as high as 24 mph. As the trough moves northeast today and Thursday, trade winds will return, and will become quite gusty into the weekend.
There were no reports of serious flood damage in Maui County as of late Tuesday afternoon.
At 9:21 a.m. Tuesday, a large eucalyptus tree fell on electrical lines on Koheo Road in Kula, Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said. A few homes lost power.
Repair crews remained on the scene at 4:15 p.m., working to restore power as soon as possible, said Kau'i Awai-Dickson, spokeswoman for Maui Electric Co.
The National Weather Service continued a wind advisory for Haleakala National Park, above 6,000 feet, until 6 a.m. today. Forecasters said sustained winds of 30 mph and gusts of 50 mph were expected at high elevations.
Late Tuesday afternoon, forecasters posted a flash flood watch for Maui County, expected to remain in effect until 6 a.m. today.