HONOLULU – Hundreds of people have been airlifted out of dangerous floodwaters on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, but authorities said Tuesday that others are still stranded at evacuation centers.
The U.S. Army, National Guard, and the county airlifted more than 220 people Monday and are going back for more evacuations, local emergency management officials said. Thirteen people were still stuck at a shelter in Kilauea, a small town on the northeastern shore, said Coralie Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red Cross of Hawaii.
“We’ll be starting to do damage assessment in Kauai for the first time today, because the weather was bad and the roads were blocked. We couldn’t do it before,” Matayoshi said.
Officials and crews are working to clear landslides and repair fallen utility poles, while state health officials have advised residents in some areas not to drink or cook with tap water as a precautionary measure due to a damaged main line.
Heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides Saturday, forcing residents and tourists into evacuation centers. Roads were closed, including on the island’s North Shore.
The National Weather Service recorded 28.1 inches (71 centimeters) of rainfall in the small North Shore town of Hanalei between 2 a.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday. The record for a 24-hour period in Hanalei was set in 2012 at 28.54 inches (73 centimeters).
Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources said about 25 people elected to be airlifted out of a state park on Kauai on Monday.
Hanalei Elementary School, the only school closed on Kauai, will keep its doors shut Wednesday, but anticipates reopening on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Hawaii Governor David Ige directed the Department of Taxation to extend tax filing deadlines for residents affected by the flooding; this includes an extension to pay state taxes that would otherwise be due on Friday.
Taxpayers can also claim casualty loss deductions, or deduct their losses on their 2018 income tax returns.
There have been no reports of major injuries. At least two vacant houses on the North Shore were completely washed off their foundations, county spokeswoman Sarah Blane said Monday.
“It’s definitely the worst storm in recent memory,” Blane said.
Some residents said the storm was worse than Hurricane Iniki in 1992.