FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 2, 2006
LIMITED WINDWARD OAHU ROAD ACCESS RESUMES
After being closed for most of the day by flooding and mudslides, Kamehameha Highway between Waiahole and Kahuku reopened this evening. But motorists attempting to drive there should expect slow going and perhaps more closures.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area this morning and it has been extended until 10 p.m.
“We’d prefer people stay out of the area until tomorrow unless absolutely necessary so that our cleanup efforts will not be hampered,” said Oahu Civil Defense Administrator William Balfour.
“Extra fire, police, road maintenance and other City personnel were dispatched to the area today and remain on the job tonight, clearing the worst of the damage and assisting the public,” said City Managing Director Wayne Hashiro. “Fortunately, no injuries or loss of life have been reported so far, but we do know that there has been widespread property damage. A full assessment of the damage will begin at first light tomorrow.
“We’re very grateful to the City workers and the dozens of Civil Defense volunteers who have helped the public through this storm,” he said.
No evacuations were ordered, but police and firefighters assisted some residents who voluntarily evacuated their flooded homes today.
Some people stranded by flooding were able to leave when the rains eased about sundown. They included 25 passengers and the drivers of two City buses as well as an Oahu Transit Services supervisor who were stranded for several hours at Swanzy Beach Park by the flooding.
An emergency evacuation shelter was opened at the Hauula Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 54-208 Hauula Homestead Road.
Balfour reminded the public that if their home is being flooded or they’re facing any other emergency, they should call 911 immediately. At the same time, the public is asked to refrain from tying up that line unnecessarily.
Even as cleanup efforts get underway tomorrow, authorities are warning the public to avoid entering the ocean along the Windward shore because of pollution and debris from the runoff.
Before heading out for work or school tomorrow, the public is urged to check the media for any overnight updates. Bus riders are advised to call the Oahu Transit Services information line at 848-5555 and Handi-van riders should call 456-5555 for the latest service.
Bill Brennan, 527-6928, c 228-1526
Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767