“The current weather situation has created a very dangerous flood situation throughout Maui County, especially in East Maui,” Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a real flood situation that we have not seen in a long time,” adding that some residents told him that this is the worst flood they have seen in more than 25 years.
Heavy rains caused the water at the Kaupakalua Dam in Haiku to peak early Monday and break around 3:21 p.m. local time, according to a statement from Maui County.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency ordered the evacuation of those downstream and three shelters were opened for those in need.
The National Weather Service said additional heavy rains could trigger a short-notice flash flood warning for areas downstream from the dam and recommended that residents follow instructions provided by Maui emergency management officials.
The governor said he was ready to help the area during evacuations.
“” The state stands ready to support Maui County as residents and visitors downstream from the Kaupakulua Dam evacuate at this time. Stay out of the area until the danger has passed and continue to monitor local media for updates, “Hawaii Governor David Ige said in a statement.
All Maui County parks were closed until further notice due to heavy rain and flooding, the Parks and Recreation Department announced.
Residents describe flooding
Carmen Gardner told CNN that she has lived in the area for 40 years and has never seen such a strong flood.
He recorded videos showing how quickly and forcefully the water flooded the area. Said she was sure about the Kaupakalua dam.
“The winter of 88-89 was a flood during a downpour, but never anything like it,” he told CNN. “Kaupakalua Road looked like the Colorado River. It is below us, but there is an ongoing flash flood at the lower (lower) edge of our property that appears to have destroyed one of the unauthorized structures that they rented.”
Gardner said the rentals below it appeared to be “badly damaged.”
Ana Paula DeCarlo told CNN that her family was safe, even though they were stuck at home due to the road wash. He recorded a video showing running water over the road that used to have a small stream underneath.
“Yes, it is like a bridge, a small one over a stream,” he said about the road. “It has not stopped raining for a second. We are about 15 minutes from the dam.”
“This is our street right now. We can’t go anywhere. The street disappeared, it’s gone!” He posted on Instagram.
CNN meteorologist Michael Guy and Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.