Rescuers are combing Kauai’s North Shore by air to look for residents who may be trapped by rising floodwaters that have damaged dozens of homes, washed out roadways and paralyzed an island accustomed to heavy rain.
Kauai, Honolulu firefighters and the Coast Guard are providing air search and rescue operations, officials said, while first responders are also searching for residents by land.
As of about 9:30 a.m., there were at least 15 to 20 rescues on land. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, the island continues to get battered by heavy rains and remains under a flash flood warning until at least 1:45 a.m. Monday.
On Monday, Hanalei Elementary School will be closed, county officials said.
The governor has issued an emergency proclamation declaring a disaster on Kauai.
At least two homes were destroyed in fast-moving floodwaters, and dozens more have sustained damage, officials said.
According to a county spokesperson, the two homes were ripped from their foundations Saturday along Wainiha Powerhouse Road on the northern side of the island. Dramatic photos shows at least one of the homes being swept downstream.
Kauai Emergency Management Agency Administrator Elton Ushio said the homes are believed to be vacant.
Meanwhile, dozens of homes have been reported flooded or damaged in the communities of Hanalei, Wainiha, and Haena. Several homes in Anahola are also experiencing flooding.
And mudslides are being reported on several major arteries, including Kuhio Highway, which remains impassable in several areas.
“We are working with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, the governor’s office, the Coast Guard, and other partners to respond to the immediate safety needs for the people in the hardest-hit area between Hanalei and Haena,” said Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, who has already signed an emergency proclamation in the wake of the severe flooding.
“This morning, we will be working to assess the extent of the damage that occurred throughout the night. For now, we are urging people to stay off the roadway. Shelter in place in a safe location or evacuate to higher ground if you are in a flood-prone area,” Carvalho said in a statement provided to the media.
The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter at Kapa‘a Middle School. Evacuation shelters also remain open at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville and at Hanalei Elementary School in Hanalei.
The area of Ha‘ena-Wainiha is without running water and power remains out for some customers in Hanalei and Ha‘ena.
The National Weather Service has extended the Flash Flood Warning for the island of Kauai until 1:45 a.m. Monday. This warning could be extended, modified or dropped as conditions develop.
[To view a slideshow of the damage, click here.]
Kauai officials are monitoring the situation from the county’s Emergency Operations Center.
Gov. David Ige said he is committed to providing all available resources to helping Kauai residents.
“In a situation like the Kauai flooding, the response begins at the county level,” Ige said. “But we’re coordinating help from around the state. Based on the county’s needs, we may also bring in other state agencies like DLNR to provide specialized skills and personnel.”
The National Guard will continue to monitor conditions on Kauai and confer with Kauai County officials to determine what additional assistance may be needed.
For updates on road conditions and closures, residents may call 241-1725.
This story may be updated.
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