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Intense Kona Low lashes parts of Hawaii, causing severe flooding in Kauai — almost 2 032 mm (80 inches) recorded this month


Another intense Kona Low hit Hawaii on Saturday, March 28, 2020, causing major flooding in Kauai island and bringing the total March rainfall amount to nearly 2 032 mm (80 inches).

A rare flash flood emergency was issued for Kauai as another wave of floods hit already soaked island. The worst-affected was the eastern end portion, with up to 254 mm (10 inches) of rain.

Floodwaters submerged vehicles, closed roads and forced residents to evacuate their homes after massive debris from upstream slammed into the Wailua Bridge, creating a makeshift dam.

 "Our first responders assisted numerous Wailua residents [in evacuating] their flooded homes," said Mayor Derek Kawakami.

"Cars were entirely underwater in some areas. Police were closing some roads due to high water," he continued. 

A local named Mike Laureta said the flooding along the Wailua River was the worst he had witnessed in 30 years. "If this was a 50-year flood or a 100-year flood, this is it."

Another resident named Kathleen Schmidt said she was not aware that the neighborhood had been submerged until she saw firefighters at her front door.

"When we walked outside there were other firemen in the street and the water was over their knees," she stated.

YouTube video

YouTube video

YouTube video

Lihue recorded 185.4 mm (7.3 inches) on Saturday, while Kapahi saw 167.6 mm (6.6 inches). Meanwhile, to the south, Port Allen Airport registered only 2 mm (0.08 inches) as the highly-localized downpour targeted the eastern end.

One USGS station located at a high elevation recorded up to 600 mm (2 feet) of rain in just three days, bringing its monthly total to 2 032 mm (80 inches) this March.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), showers with some thunderstorms are likely from Tuesday to Wednesday, March 31 to April 1.

Showers with a 60 percent chance of precipitation are also forecast from Thursday to Saturday, April 2 to 4.

Isolated showers and a 20 percent chance of precipitation are expected on Sunday, April 5.

On March 17, a powerful Kona Low placed all islands under a flash flood watch, with a rare tornado warning also issued for Niihau for the first time in 11 years.

Featured image credit: KHON2 News/YouTube


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