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Posted on: November 30, 2023

Heavy rain spurs flooding, road closures; W. Maui tools successful in mitigating debris

Pahihi Gulch at Kaupo Gap_MPD photo

Multiple County of Maui crews and contractors were working today, Nov. 30, 2023, around the island to mitigate impacts from the kona low, which brought heavy rain and flash flooding to East Maui and light rain to the burn zone in West Maui. 

 

Nearly 10 inches of rain – the highest rainfall total in the state – was recorded in United States Geological Survey’s rain gauge near Keʻanae in a 24-hour period ending at 1 p.m. today. National Weather Service gauges Lahainaluna and Lahaina Portable recorded 0.32 inches and 0.27 inches, respectively, in the same timeframe.

 

An emergency shelter was opened mid-morning at Hāna High and Elementary School. One person was there as of 3:30 p.m.

 

Flooding and a landslide forced several East Maui road closures, including those in Hāna, Kaupōulu and Ulupalakua, in the morning. By the afternoon, Maui Police Department had reopened many of the portions along Hāna Highway. Flooding at Nu’u, Kaupō Gap, a portion of roadway that is typically overwhelmed during heavy rain, remained closed in the afternoon, cutting off Kaupō from Kīpahulu.

 

In West Maui’s burn zone of Lahaina, Department of Public Works reported that tools deployed to trap ash and debris and filter out potential contaminants before entering the storm drain system were successful. Multiple crews and contractors were cleaning up debris where it accumulated and adjusting as needed in anticipation of subsequent rains. 

 

Ash and debris in burn zones left by the August fires were areas of concern for county, state and federal partners ahead of the first significant rain event since the devastation. Several best management practices and flooding mitigation tools were deployed ahead of the kona low.

 

National Weather Service in Honolulu advanced a Flood Watch to a Flash Flood Warning early today. Around 1:15 p.m., NWS downgraded the warning to a watch, which will remain in effect for all Hawaiian Islands through the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 1, and bring the possibility of flash flooding and thunderstorms.

 

The public is encouraged to stay informed through credible sources such as NWS and Maui Emergency Management Agency. Sign up for MPD Road Closure notifications at bit.ly/MauiRoadClosure
 
 The public is also urged to take the necessary steps to be prepared, including having an emergency kit with essential items. For more information on emergency preparedness and to sign up for alerts from MEMA, visit www.mauicounty.gov/MEMA.

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