Storms hammered Kaua‘i with heavy rains Sunday, forcing the evacuation of at least 12 families, closing roads and bridges and causing rivers to overflow their banks.
The American Red Cross opened a temporary emergency shelter at the Koloa Neighborhood Center, welcoming one family by 11 a.m.
“This is my first flood,” said Kapua Kinney, 14, a resident of Old Koloa Camp, who accompanied her parents to the shelter.
“Most of the people were trying to rescue their animals, but we were worried about the older people who live by themselves.”
The shelter closed at 6 p.m. because of a lack of individuals needing help by that time.
A flash flood warning was in effect until 8:45 p.m. for northern, eastern and southern parts of the island, with a flash flood watch in effect for western Kaua‘i.
Kaua‘i County officials reported that 12 Koloa area families were evacuated from their homes along Wailing Road and Aloha Place because of flooding.
Lettitia Weaver said by email that her family was rescued by boat.
“Early this morning at 5:45, Glenn Santos of Koloa woke to the sound of his pointer growling,” Weaver said about her son-in-law. He and her daughter Leilani woke their daughters Kayla and Kaitlin.
Water was already ankle-deep downstairs in the house, and the entrance to Aloha Place, the road near their house, was hip-high in water, Weaver said.
Family friend Jordon Ornalles brought his Zodiac inflatable boat and, with the help of a lift truck from neighbors, rescued the family, she said.
On the North Shore, marine biologist Terry Lilley said he evacuated his Hanalei home at 3 a.m., and said several other homes in the area were “2 to 3 feet deep in water” after the Hanalei River spilled over its banks.
“It’s been coming over the roads,” Lilley said.
One rain gauge in Hanalei reported rain falling at a rate of more than two inches per hour at one point during the morning.
A Hanalei recording station posted 9.96 inches of rain over a 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Sunday, with 8.76 inches falling within a 12-hour period.
By late afternoon, water levels were receding in the Hanalei River, but Kaua‘i Civil Defense officials reported that Kuhio Highway remained closed Sunday night near the Hanalei Bridge and near Haena Beach Parki.
A landslide earlier Sunday temporarily closed Kuhio Highway in Lumaha‘i near Mile Marker 5, but workers removed debris and reopened that section of road by noon.
Road were also closed for part of the day in Kilauea and Kapa‘a.
The southbound lane of Kalihiwai Bridge in Kilauea was also closed part of the day.
Electricity was quickly restored after early morning power outages were reported in Lihu‘e, Hanama‘ulu and Wailua.
A high surf advisory was issued through 6 a.m. Tuesday for the east-facing and windward shores of Kaua‘i and leeward shores of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.
Fifteen-foot to 20-foot surf is expected, producing hazardous swimming conditions and dangerous rip currents, according to the National Weather Service.