Kaua‘i begins adding up storm damage

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i residents and visitors woke up Monday without having to deal with the heavy rains that pounded the island for the past week, but a 40 percent to 50 percent chance of rain remains in the forecast until Sunday, the National Weather Service reported.

A high wind advisory was lifted, but a high surf advisory remained in effect until 4 a.m. today.

Kaua‘i’s Ocean Safety Bureau supervisor Kalani Vierra said beachgoers have been staying away from the beaches, still brown from the flooded waters. A brown water advisory remains in effect for the island.

Kaua‘i Fire Department Chief Robert Westerman said the high surf advisory, coupled with the brown water advisory issued by the state Department of Health, contributed to reducing the amount of water incidents.

 Westerman said that during last week’s storm the department relocated engines and personnel from district to district to “stay ahead of the storm” and be able to provide services.

“We constantly move the stations in an effort to relieve the crews, the stress and the overtime as we do not have permanent quarters on the Hanalei side of the river,” Westerman said.

Firefighters assisted with evacuations in Po‘ipu and Hanalei areas in recent days, and also “pumped” a few hotels, he said.

“I would like to thank the firefighters for all the hard work and dedication to the people of Kaua‘i,” Westerman said. “A great job by all.”  

 The county Public Works Department was still assessing damages to county roads on Monday, according to county officials.

County crews are currently working on repairing the county roads affected by the storm.

“The main areas of concern at this point are Pua Nani Street in Pua Loke, ‘Anini Road as well as Kapahi Bridge,” county officials said. “Repairs to the bridge should be complete by the end of this week.”

County Engineer Larry Dill had recently released a list of county roads scheduled for resurfacing.

County officials said Monday they do not anticipate delays on the islandwide resurfacing schedule, but if the roads on the list suffered significant damage there might be a change in the scope of work.

North Shore residents and visitors are still coping with the damages on a daily basis.

“It’s crazy out here,” Wainiha resident Chris Bryan said Monday.

“There’s just a lot of road damage, but the workers have been great. They worked all weekend. They must be exhausted.”

Bryan said that on Monday morning there were at least three points with only one lane open on the highway between Hanalei and her residence on Powerline Road.

“There hasn’t been any new development in the last couple days, but it’s just continued heavy equipment, moving stuff, waiting in line and all that,” Bryan said.

On the way to Princeville, past Hanalei Bridge, a landslide is limiting traffic to one lane, with flagmen working 24 hours a day to direct traffic.

A 10-foot piece of the guardrail tumbled down a hill, fell into the Hanalei River, washed up downstream and ended up in Hanalei Bay, Bryan said.

“There’s flagmen and there are long delays, and I heard they were going to close the road for a day so they can get the work done, but they haven’t announced it yet,” she said. “It’s going to be major (work). It’s a big old hole in the road.”

Despite the problems created by the inclement weather, she said she has kept her spirits high.

“We’re all kind of like pioneers out there,” she said of the remote Powerline Road neighborhood. “We know how to cope.”

Jennifer Walter, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, Hawai‘i Chapter, said volunteers had collected damage assessment reports from 117 homes as of Monday afternoon.

“We’ve been forwarding all the damage reports we receive to the county and to the state,” she said.

Walter said the Red Cross has distributed more than 50 cleanup kits, which include buckets, bleach, mops and brooms.

“We’ve visited about eight families that had some more serious damages to talk to them a little more extensively,” Walter said.

County officials announced Monday  that the Wailua Golf Course is open, but only to walkers.

Carts are not allowed until further notice, due to the soggy conditions of the course.

A water conservation request for Kilauea, Kalihiwai, Pu’u Pane and Waipake areas was lifted Monday after repairs to a second water well were completed and storage tanks were replenished.

In Lihu‘e’s Ulu Mahi subdivision, two sinkholes caused the closure of Pua Nani Street Saturday.

A damaged storm drain might have scoured the backfill and pipe bedding materials during the heavy rains, causing the sinkholes, according to county officials.

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