Springtime on Kauai usually brings an abundance of color from trees and shrubs blooming to the first hint of mango and lychee fruit bursting. Islanders look for warmer days, calmer waters on the northshore and surfing conditions to arrive on the south shore. Spring 2018 will also be known for rainfall at a rate that is hard to fathom.
On April 14, 2018 Mother Nature sent nearly 50 inches of rain to Kauai’s northshore creating massive flooding and property damage. The Lumahai, Wainiha Haena areas were particularly impacted and remain isolated today. Mayor Bernard Carvalho just last week issued a supplementary proclamation extending an emergency rule and order that prohibits any vacation rentals in these areas for up to an additional 60 days and restricts access to residents, county, state and federal employees and government contractors as well as specified NGO’s.
Hanalei Town also experienced heavy flooding with Hanalei River carving a wider path into Hanalei Bay altering properties on the coast and sections of the beach. This YouTube video offers a clear visual of the damage and destruction. Old timers say that the river has returned to its traditional route.
Although flood impacts were most heavily felt on the northshore, the tiny pocket of homes in the vicinity of Aloha Place, Wailaau Road and Waihohonu Road in Old Koloa Town experienced dramatic flooding as well. Waters from the neighboring ditch pushed at low lying homes reaching window sill heights. With most of the county and state attention directed to the northshore, local residents jumped into action to assist Koloa families with heavy equipment, dumpsters, cleaning supplies, man/womanpower. Mayoral candidates also made appearances.
Heading into summer, Kauai is open for business. Indeed, the bulk of Kauai was left unscathed. While most Hanalei businesses have re-opened, The Dolphin Restaurant which rests on the banks of the Hanalei River, remains closed for repairs. Fans of this island favorite continue to pour into their Poipu Beach location at Kukuiula Village.
Members of the Kauai community who are more fortunate such as Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, Pierre Omidyar and Laird Hamilton have generously offered time and money to support island families. Hawaii’s own Jack Johnson and BAMP Project pulled together Kokua for Kauai. Headlined by Jack Johnson, Paul Fuga, Makana and Donovan Frankenreiter the May 12th concert at Poipu Beach Athletic Club generated $140,000.00 for flood victims. Those of us from the Kauai Heritage Portfolio team joined other Elite Pacific Properties associates at the event to support the effort and recognize Elite Pacific Properties’ commitment to underwrite the transportation for all artists and crew.
Through disastrous events, we see heartache, loss and the best in people. On Kauai we’ve been here before, and by our nature, we have generous hearts and a strong sense of community. From one side of the island to the other all of us, in one way or another, donate food, supplies, materials and help friends and neighbors tend to the needs of our young and the elderly. The Kauai island community is resilient in times of strife.