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Flash flood warning canceled for Maui; flood watch still in effect

  • NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

    A radar image taken at 10:35 a.m. showed an area of heavy moisture over windward Maui.

Update 6:23 p.m.

The flash flood warning issued for Maui was canceled, but a flash flood watch is still in effect until 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Weather officials said a front stalled over Maui since yesterday has led to saturated areas over the windward side of the island and will remain stalled, keeping the moisture in place.

Additional heavy showers triggered by an upper-level trough passing overhead could lead to flash flooding over windward and central Maui.

Officials are urging the public to take safety precautions, as heavy downpours could cause streams to quickly overflow.

Previous coverage

Maui County police are urging the public to stay off the roads this New Year’s Eve because of heavy rain and landslides that closed portions of Hana Highway, said Maui County spokesman Rod Antone.

Police were also asking those with travel plans to stay in place after getting to their destinations and to limit their travel, he said.

The National Weather Service extended a flash flood warning for Maui, primarily covering the windward side, until 3:45 p.m. and issued a flash flood watch for Maui’s leeward side through late tonight.

At 12:50 p.m., radar showed moderate to locally heavy showers falling over windward Maui where streams were flowing very high, weather officials said.

Across the western portion of windward Maui, heavy rainfall was developing with rain falling at the rate of more than 2 inches per hour. Rapid rises along the Waihee River were seen in the area, the Weather Service said.

State health officials issued a brown water advisory for Maui due to the heavy rains. Everyone is advised to avoid flood water and storm water runoff due to “possible overflowing cesspools, sewer manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals and associated flood debris,” health officials said in their advisory.

Locations in the flash flood warning include, but are not limited to, Kahului, Pauwela, Honokohau, Huelo, Nahiku, Makawao, Paia, Puunene, Waiehu, Haliimaile, Pukalani and Wailuku.

Maui County reported several road closures because of landslides or flooding today.

>> Hana Highway was closed between Honomaunu Bay and Keanae Town, near mile-markers 14 and 15, because of downed trees and landslides.

>> Near the closure, Hana Highway was passable between Huelo and Keanae, but flooding and landslides were making travel in the area hazardous. State crews were responding to clear the highway.

>> The intersection at Kaupakalua and Kokomo roads was briefly closed about noon because of flooding.

>> A rockslide and large boulder was blocking the east-bound lane of Hana Highway, about 400 yards from the Kahului side of West Kuiaha Road.

Antone said about noon that no homes were flooded or evacuated.

Heavy rain has been falling over east Maui since at least Friday when the American Red Cross opened a shelter at Hana High School’s gymnasium for impacted motorists.

The flash flood warning replaces an earlier flood advisory.

Also, an earlier high surf advisory for the east shores of most islands has been canceled.

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