HONOLULU – The weather agency downgraded Hawaii's flood warnings on Friday after more rains hit the island of Kauai. On Friday, the state Department of Health sent a medical team to Kauai to help flood victims in the most affected areas with fears of dirty water, reports CBS Honolulu Affiliate KGMB.
"These floods will be dirty and worrying for a long time," Dr. Janet Berreman, Head of the Health Department of Kauai District. She said people should wash themselves regularly with soap and fresh water after coming into contact with floods and covering open wounds or cuts.
The National Weather Service raised a flash flood warning for Kauai and a fall guard over the Hawaiian Islands. But because the land is still saturated in many areas, meteorologists say it does not need much rainfall to trigger flash floods, reports KGMB.
The northern coast of the city of Hanalei saw 28.1 inches of rainfall between 2 pm Saturday and 2 pm Sunday. Meteorological authorities say it was probably record rain, but the rain gauge there stopped working.
Near Wainiha, Thursday night was moderate rain – 2.5 inches over a 12-hour period, said Ian Morrison, a meteorologist at the Weather Service.
The National Weather Service said just before 4:15 am, meter reports along the Hanalei River indicated a rapid rise in water levels – up to seven feet, reports KGMB. Radar also showed a heavy rain over the inner part of the island.
Kauai saw some sunshine on Friday when, after the flood, the residents stranded people in a shelter surrounded by water, washed houses off their foundations and scattered scattered bisons from a farm.
Crews were working to clear more than a dozen landslides on the Kuhio Highway along the north coast of the island. It will take several weeks for access to some communities. The Hawaii Department of Transportation said officials expect to open a single-lane route to Wainiha and Haena for emergency access on 7 May, according to KGMB.
Nearly 500 people have been flown from flooded areas since Monday.
The extra rain increased the stress of coping with the consequences, said Hanalei's resident Gayla Spencer.
Spencer and her family were about to move when the weekend storm hit, so their belongings in the garage were in boxes. All these items were ruined, she said.
"It's okay, it's just materialistic things that can be replaced," she said.
What's even more devastating, Spencer said, is that a landslide covered a local graveyard where her sister and other family members are buried.
"It's a delicate situation," she said.
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