Darby scooted off to the north a weaker storm Monday, but not before pounding Oahu with enough rain Sunday night to stop freeway traffic, knock out power, spill sewage and trigger some serious flooding.
For homeowners, companies and government workers across Honolulu, the business of the day on Monday was cleaning up the muddy mess.
Among the hardest hit were the businesses along Ahua Street in Mapunapuna, most of which were mopping up Monday morning and still had a long way to go.
At Medallion Carpets, 2 feet of water rushed into the warehouse, ruining many thousands of dollars’ worth of carpeting and wood and vinyl flooring.
The mud and water also knocked out the company’s phones, computers and electricity.
“We’re in limbo,” branch manager Roland Cortes said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to open up for business in a few days. It’s a mess right now.
“It could have been worse. The main thing is the safety of our employees and being able to take care of our customers. We’ll be OK.”
Across the street, employees at KTS Hula Supply were emptying the warehouse of all kinds of hula implements, feathers, musical instruments and costumes. A bunch of office equipment and hula products, many of them rain-soaked, were stacked on the sidewalk in front of KTS on Monday morning.
“There’s no business, no sales, no nothing today,” said worker Seng Thanva, pointing to the company’s waterlogged office. “Everything is gone.”
Company owner Seng Xaysanith guessed that half of the business’s inventory was destroyed. “It’s bad,” he said.
At nearby Mr. Sandman Inc., a foot or more of water filled the warehouse, destroying inventory and causing major damage to the company office.
Owner Bob Freeman said he still remembers the last big Mapunapuna flood, back in 2003. He said the wholesale company, which services sandblasting and industrial painting contractors, lost $250,000 worth of inventory then. This time, he said, his quick estimate is $200,000.
Looking across the waterlogged warehouse, Freeman pointed to a variety of rain-soaked and mud-stained products.
“It’s kind of hard to sell things that have been underwater,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of electrical equipment that is probably now scrap. It’s all going to the dump.”
In the office, the planks from a newly installed floor were floating on the water. “It’s completely shot,” he said.
Freeman said his staff would probably be cleaning up for a month or two.
Most of the furious downpour occurred between 6:30 p.m. and midnight Sunday. Five Oahu rain gauges recorded more than 10 inches apiece, with Upper Nuuanu (11.30 inches) and Moanalua (11.22 inches) leading the way.
Serious flooding affected homes in Kalihi, Nuuanu and other flood-prone areas around Oahu. In Iwilei on Monday, workers at the Shops at Dole Cannery were busy cleaning debris and mud from the floodwaters the night before.
On Sunday night the westbound H-1 freeway was closed at School Street at about 9 p.m., causing a colossal backup and leading drivers of some cars to turn around and go the wrong way to avoid the jam. A handful of other streets in town were flooded as well.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that of the 211 calls to the Honolulu Fire Department on Sunday, 133 of them were flood-related.
“A lot of our Honolulu firefighters are very tired today, but they go out and continue to respond,” he said.
Officials reported various sewage spills, including one of less than 10,000 gallons at Atkinson Drive near Magic Island. Signs were posted by the state Department of Health around Magic Island to tell the public to stay out of the water.
An estimated 1,200 gallons of wastewater spilled into the street and down a storm drain in Waolani Stream at Wyllie Street in Liliha. Signs are posted along the stream to Honolulu Harbor.
Other spills included one of less than 1,000 gallons at the Punawai pump station in Kaneohe, and one of less than 50,000 gallons that was generally contained at the Kailua Treatment Plant, city officials said.
The Health Department issued a number of brown-water advisories urging people to stay out of the ocean due to runoff around Oahu.
While rushing stormwater overwhelmed areas near places where homeless have congregated, there were no reports of anyone seeking assistance from along rivers and streams during the deluge.
Social service providers scoured the island Friday to warn those living along the sides of waterways about the impending storm, and both government and agency officials said that helped stave off any life-threatening situations.
On Sunday night 233 people stayed in Oahu shelters, according to the Red Cross, while 226 people stayed overnight in Big Island shelters from Friday to Saturday and 43 people stayed overnight in Maui County shelters.
Red Cross volunteers on Oahu, the Big Island and the islands of Maui County were canvassing the hardest-hit areas Monday to assess damage from the storm.
On Kauai, Mayor Bernard Carvalho signed an emergency proclamation in advance of the storm, but there were no reports of damage or road closures Monday.
Meanwhile, Darby put the Rim of the Pacific naval war games on hold from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday, but they returned to normal operations Monday, said Navy Lt. Rochelle Rieger, RIMPAC spokeswoman.
“Ships operating in the direct path of the storm were moved south for storm avoidance. Working with the FAA, military flights were curtailed to accommodate the safe arrival of civilian aircraft that needed alternate routing for weather, and units were on standby to support the Coast Guard in search and rescue operations if needed,” Rieger said in a statement.
Power failures were reported across the state. Power was restored Monday to the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kakaako. The Medical Education Building will reopen today, officials said.
Most state parks and forests on Hawaii island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai reopened Monday. Still closed are Polipoli Springs State Recreation Area on Maui and the Kalalau Trail on Kauai, officials said.
City officials said they were making an estimate of the damage Monday in order to apply for emergency funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Anyone who would like to report residential damage caused by Darby can contact the Red Cross at 739-8115. If no one answers, leave a message.
Star-Advertiser reporters Marcel Honore and Gordon Pang contributed to this report.