LIHU‘E — A flash-flood watch and an island-wide traffic advisory continued into Friday evening as roads flooded and rainy weather caused a sewage spill from the Lihu‘e Wastewater Treatment plant.
The National Weather Service canceled the flash-flood warning for Kaua‘i at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The flash-flood watch remains in effect through 6 p.m. today.
County of Kaua‘i agencies launched a response to continuing severe-weather impacts, including attending to the needs of the isolated communities from Hanalei to Ha‘ena.
The Kaua‘i Bus Friday was shuttling members of the houseless community to the Church of the Pacific in Princeville.
As of Friday evening, Kuhio Highway remained closed above the Hanalei Bridge by a huge landslide as officials continue to assess the damage, conduct debris removal and stabilize the slopes. State Department of Transportation officials anticipate early next week as the earliest point where a single-lane, emergency access could open up on Kuhio Highway.
As of Friday night, the following roads were closed:
• Both lanes of Kuhio Highway above the Hanalei Bridge;
• Kuhio Highway between Kolopua Apartments and Hanalei Plantation Road;
• One lane of Kuhio Highway at mile marker 4.5 near Waikoko is currently open to alternating traffic.
County solid-waste officials are currently unable to provide normal refuse collection service to households in the Hanalei to Ha‘ena areas, affected by the landslide.
Residents in the impacted area are asked to start separating their putrescible waste so that the county can focus on initial removal of these items.
Putrescible waste is solid waste that causes odors when decomposing, such as food waste, animal waste and diapers. This waste should be bagged and placed in county refuse carts. Other waste must also be bagged and set aside for future disposal efforts.
County of Kaua‘i asks that residents also separate, secure and hold their green waste, recyclables, and bulky waste until further notice, and use backyard composting bins to manage food waste as much as possible.
“We understand that residents have already filled their refuse carts with trash, and we are assuring all that solid waste needs are being prioritized,” said a county news release sent Friday. “We continue to work on our waste-removal plan for the near future and will provide updates as they develop.”
Additionally, solid-waste officials announced that all green waste facilities are closed over the weekend, as heavy rains are expected to continue and conditions will likely remain saturated at the sites.
The Hanalei post office, 5-5226 Kuhio Hwy., is temporarily closed due to the road closures. The office will reopen as soon as access is restored and it is safe to do so. While the office is closed, affected Hanalei post office box customers can pick up their mail at the Kilauea post office, 2585 Ala Namahana Parkway.
Individuals in the affected areas who are not able to keep their COVID vaccine appointments — either first or second dose — should be assured that they will be able to reschedule their appointments. If necessary, extra clinic dates will be added to accommodate those affected. Second doses can be given up to 42 days after first doses. Beyond that, it is recommended to take the second doses as soon as possible. If access to Kuhio Highway remains an issue, DOH will work with county and other health-care partners to bring vaccines to the North Shore communities.
Food and medical supplies
Food supplies are available at stores and food pantries in the affected areas. The county continues to work on bringing in additional food and medical supplies for the community as needed.
The county is beginning to conduct assessments of storm-affected areas across the island. Those whose homes have suffered damages due to the flooding should visit kauai.gov/kema and click on the green link “March 2021 Rain Damage/Flood Reporting” to complete a form. The information provided will help to gather necessary data which may be used to determine whether or not certain federal aid is made available to residents of Kaua‘i and the state. For assistance on how to fill out the form, call KEMA at 241-1800.
The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative advises its Hanalei members that a scheduled outage will occur today beginning at 9 a.m. It is expected to last approximately two hours, but could be longer depending on weather condutions and other factors. The outage includes members in Ching Young Village Shopping Center up to Waikoko, including Weke Road. The outage is necessary for crews to complete repairs related to an outage that occurred on Thursday. The KIUC Facebook page is providing status reports, and the outage map on the homepage of the cooperative’s website is another resource for current information: kiuc.coop.
The county Department of Water also advises residents to stay out of standing water. The public is advised to stay out of floodwaters and stormwater runoff due to possible overflowing cesspools, sewers, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals and associated flood debris. Do not allow children to play in floodwaters. Continue to practice good personal hygiene by washing off with soap and clean water and washing hands before handling food.
Polihale State Park, Ha‘ena State Park and the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park are all closed. The entrance road to Polihale State Park near Kekaha is flooded, with numerous ponds of water along the route, according to the state Deparment of Land and Natural Resources. Canal irrigation ditches have overflowed and are causing new erosion hotspots. The road is currently a river of mud.