- The lingering risk of heavy showers was predicted to last at least through Wednesday, and likely to last longer.
- The entire state was under a flash flood watch.
- “This was an unprecedented flood.”
Days of pouring rain this week caused catastrophic flooding across Hawaii, which official figures and climatologists say are more common as the planet warms up.
The risk of heavy showers has been predicted to last at least through Wednesday and likely to last longer. The downpours first hit Maui, moved north up the island chain to Oahu and Kauai, then circled and hit the southernmost part of the Big Island, forcing evacuations, blocking roads and destroying houses in the process.
“By Wednesday, widespread showers are expected across the country, some of which will be locally heavy as a low-pressure, slow-moving system lingers west of Kauai,” he said National Weather Service said. “As the low remains nearby for the next few days, slight southerly winds will prevail and the potential for showers will remain increased.”
The entire state was under a flash flood watch as of Wednesday afternoon. The island of Kauai and part of the Big Island of Hawaii have received a flash flood warning.
Governor David Ige signed an emergency announcement on Tuesday.
An evacuation warrant for hundreds of residents from Haleiwa, a town north of Honolulu, was lifted late Tuesday as the torrent of flooding subsided Hawaii News Now.
Honolulu firefighters rescued a 27-year-old man Tuesday after his truck was swept down a stream. They found him standing on the roof of the truck. On Wednesday, they stopped another search for someone who blew a witness in Pearl City.
This week it rained nearly 2 feet in Wahiawa, Oahu. AccuWeather said. Some places absorbed rain for half a month in just one day.
On Monday, officials initially thought the Kaupakalua Dam in the Maui community of Haiku had been breached by flood, but district officials upon closer inspection found that there was no structural damage.
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About six homes on Maui and two bridges were badly damaged or destroyed, said Maui Mayor’s office Michael Victorino.
“This was an unprecedented flood,” Victorino said in a statement.
“In fact, some residents have told me that this is the worst they have seen in over 25 years,” he said on Facebook.
A Maui resident Mark Alexander said there was water to his chest in minutes. “It’s up to my waist, it’s up to my chest, and the next thing I see my cooler past me,” he said Hawaii News Now.
On the Big Island, in addition to rain at lower altitudes, snow was also forecast on the highest peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, where a Winter weather advice was in fact, said the weather service.
The frequency of intense rainfall is an indication that people should be prepared for such events more often, said Pao-Shin Chu, a professor at the University of Hawaii and a climatologist for the state.
“Do not think that this is a once in a lifetime event that you will only see once in your life. It’s changing, ”said Chu.
Less time passes between them, he said. “It could be like this once every 30 years. Who knows? ”Said Chu.
In order to better prepare for future disasters, it is important for scientists to understand how the weather interacts with a warming climate so that so much rain falls in such a short time.
Overall, Hawaii has had less rain in the past few decades and has at times battled drought. It was only on Tuesday that the US Secretary of Agriculture approved a drought disaster declaration for parts of Maui County.
A 2010 report from the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant College program said rainfall has decreased by 15% over the past 20 years. However, the same report states that between 1958 and 2007 the rain events with the heaviest downpours increased by 12%, underscoring that the number of more intense rainstorms is increasing.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the city must work with government partners to keep the waterways clear of debris and prevent future flooding.
“We have to get used to such climate events,” said Blangiardi. “An enormous concentration of rain in a short period of time in focused areas will lead to flooding everywhere. When we face such situations, we really need to approach and attack. “
Contributor: The Associated Press