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Truck falls into sinkhole on rain-soaked Hawaii island

Storm sets new rainfall record for Hilo

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 08:13 a.m. HST, Dec 31, 2013


Heavy rains drenched Hawaii island's Windward coast Monday morning, scattering runoff and debris across the area — and even causing a Paauilo Mauka road to collapse beneath a truck, according to officials.

More rain Monday afternoon and evening prompted a flash flood warning that's been extended through 8 a.m. today after radar showed heavy rain south of Hilo near Keaau at about 7:48 p.m.

Other locations in the warning include Waipio Valley, Paauilo, Laupahoehoe, and Hawaiian Paradise Park.

The National Weather Service said flooding was reported at Ainako Ave. and Kaumana Drive this evening. A landslide was also reported on Old Scenic Road in Papaikou.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense was alerted to the road collapse site on Pohakea Mauka Road, near its junction with Manienie Road, at about 8 a.m., Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira said. The rain had caused a culvert beneath the street to shift, which then triggered the roadway's collapse as a Dodge pickup drove over it. The truck fell into a giant sinkhole-like crater, Oliveira said.

The truck's female driver emerged with minor injuries and "definitely very shaken," Oliveira said. County public works personnel are at the site and "trying to come up with a plan" for repair — but it likely will be a slow fix. Oliveira said.

The rains also caused landslides across an approximately 11-mile stretch of Highway 19, between the 25- to 36-mile marker, he said.

The rains set a new record for rainfall at the Hilo Airport. About 5.51 inches fell Monday, beating the old record of 4.58 inches set in 1951.

The island remains under a flood watch until 6 p.m. Monday.

The Muliwai Trail and Waimanu Valley campground in North Kohala closed at 1 p.m. due to flooding.

The storm also brought snow to Mauna Kea and hail to Hilo, Puna and Pahoa Sunday night, according to reports to the National Weather Service.

"It's been a while since we've had such heavy downpour with so much runoff," Oliveira said. "The ground's been pretty dry for a while. It's been drier than normal and now we're having heavier than normal rainfall."

The storm's passage over the Big Island was captured by a cloud camera at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea. The video is embedded in this story Staradvertiser.com website below and can be seen on mobile devices through this link: http://youtu.be/COF5dEadvmg






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