KOLOA — Michael Bukoski had just moved back into his house on Waila‘au Road in Koloa when the notice for voluntary evacuations came across Tuesday morning.
“We just moved back in after repairs from the flood in April,” Bukoski said. “Now, we gotta get out, again.”
The recommendation came following heavy rains that blanketed Kauai from Monday, generating at least 18.91 inches at the Mount Waialeale automated gauge for the 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Rain gauges at Hanalei reported 11.01 inches and the North Wailua Ditch reported 12.45 inches. Princeville Airport reported 7.1 inches as of 6 p.m. Poipu got 4.8 inches and Hanapepe, 3.4 inches.
The rainfall forced the cancellation of the opening day of Alakai O Kauai charter school.
“We had issues with the road,” said Claire Woogles, Alakai O Kauai office manager. “We’re closed today and after discussing the issues with the school director, we hope to be up and running as soon as it dries out.”
Water from the heavy rain created numerous runoffs, trees falling across highways, and traffic signal malfunctions that snarled the morning commute.
“My wife was in the traffic this morning,” said Jason Caldeira, Kalaheo Neighborhood Center site manager. “When she encountered the tree at the Halfway Bridge, she just called in and said it wasn’t happening.”
Caldeira was pressed into action, opening the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center as an American Red Cross shelter.
“We were just here over the weekend,” said Brian Kasperek, shelter coordinator. “But they just called us to open this place to accommodate people they’re moving from Koloa. We have guests in town, and we would rather be out with them.”
In addition to Hanalei School being closed Tuesday and today due to the inclement weather, other schools had issues with getting students home in the Keapana Valley, Koloa and parts of Poipu.
Kauai Complex Area Superintendent William Arakaki asked parents to pick up their children at the affected schools that included the Waimea Canyon Middle School, Waimea High School, Koloa Elementary School, the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Kauai High School, the Kapaa Middle School, and Kapaa High School.
Throughout the day, highways were closed intermittently while crews removed trees that blocked the roadways partially, or fully.
Shortly before noon, residents on Aloha Place, Waihohonuou Road, and part of Waila‘au Road in Koloa were encouraged to evacuate their homes as a safety precaution based on reports of rising stream levels.
“I’m hoping I don’t have to go,” said James Agcaoili, who along with his wife Glenda, and dog JJ, waded across the water that lapped over Aloha Place. “This is just my backpack with the important papers.”
National Weather Service is calling for improving conditions with drier, and more typical trade wind weather into Wednesday and prevailing through Saturday.