HAPPY VALLEY - A cold front bringing heavy showers drenching areas between Wailuku and Kahakuloa on Monday morning caused flooding at the Living Way Church of Maui in Happy Valley.
"It happened really fast. It was pouring like crazy," said Youth Pastor Aaron Najera, as firefighters were busy running a water pump to suck up the rainwater that had flooded at least four areas on the church grounds along North Market Street.
Najera said that a drain on the property had clogged and rainwater rushed into the area from nearby Mokuhau Road, causing water to fill up the low-lying courtyard area. Firefighters estimated the water in some areas to be 2 to 3 feet deep.
Living Way Church of Maui member Audrey Kekahuna (left in white shirt) and Nick Drose pick up debris in water on the Living Way Church of Maui grounds in Happy Valley on Monday morning. Firefighters estimated that flooding in some areas was 2 to 3 feet deep.
The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photo
Najera added that the water went into the church's basement, two rooms and a laundry room.
The water did not appear to reach the chapel, which sits above the courtyard. The church is in a portion of the old T.K. Supermarket building. Two rooms that had flooded sit underneath the church clergy residence in back of the old supermarket.
Fire officials said that rainwater from the property and surrounding buildings was overwhelming the drain on the property. Debris also was obstructing the drain.
The Wailuku fire crew responded to the flooding call at 10:57 a.m. Crews utilized a floatation pump to take water out of the courtyard and yard area. Two other pumps were used to drain water from the church's basement, which contained about 6 inches of water at its deepest point, fire officials said.
Around 11:30 a.m., as firefighters continued to use the water pump and had the flooding under control, Najera, a friend and a church member picked up soaked rugs and other drenched items from the courtyard.
Najera stayed positive and said that he was sure church members would come together to clean up and restore the grounds. He didn't know how much it would cost to make repairs.
The cold front that was passing through the state also apparently caused some snow flurries atop Haleakala on Monday morning, but it wasn't cold enough to stick, a park official said. She reported that the weather on the mountain was usual for this time of year.
During the several hours when heavy rains fell along Kahekili Highway between Wailuku and Kahakuloa, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the island that lasted until 12:30 p.m. Monday.
The heavy rains washed out a portion of the asphalt surface of Kahekili Highway just before Kahakuloa, county spokesman Rod Antone said Monday evening.
The highway is open but motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible. If driving in the area, motorists are asked to exercise caution, he said.
Department of Public Works crews were expected to be working to repair the road either Monday night or today. If road crews are working, drivers are asked to obey all traffic signs and instructions while driving through the area, Antone said.
Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga and police Lt. Wayne Ibarra said there were no other major reports of rain damage or injuries on Monday afternoon.
From 8 to 11 a.m. Monday, the National Weather Service reported that 2.24 inches of rain fell in the Kahakuloa area. In the same time period, 0.87 inches fell in Hana.
On Molokai, where the front had stalled, 4.73 inches fell in Makapulapai in the 24-hour period that ended at 11 a.m. Monday.
Molokai police reported no weather related calls as of Monday afternoon.
The National Weather Service said that the threat of heavy rainfall should diminish beginning today. There still will be residual moisture that will fuel windward and mauka showers, especially across the Big Island and Maui County as trade winds build back in by the middle of the week, the weather service said.
A high-surf warning for north- and west-facing shores of Molokai and north-facing shores of Maui has been posted until 6 a.m. today. A large swell that was building in the waters across the Hawaiian Islands on Monday produced giant surf in the range of 25 to 35 feet.
Beachgoers and swimmers were warned of significant shore break and rip currents.
* Staff Writer Lila Fujimoto contributed to this report. Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.