LIHUE, Hawaii – Dozens of people are stranded at a Red Cross shelter on Kauai after a storm dropped over 2 feet of rain, causing massive flooding and grounding rescue helicopters.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation for the island where heavy rainfall damaged or flooded dozens of homes in Hanalei, Wainiha, Haena and Anahola.
About 40 people – mostly tourists – were stranded Sunday at Hanalei Elementary School, where the American Red Cross had opened an evacuation shelter. They briefly ran out of food and water.
Coralie Chun Matayoshi, chief executive officer of the Red Cross in Hawaii, said the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation offered to deliver food to the evacuees by personal watercraft, but a nearby business was also dealing with flooding and unable to provide the supplies to be delivered. The Hawaii Guard offered to deliver food by air, but the weather kept the helicopters grounded.
Officials will continue rescue efforts when the weather improves.
The Kauai Fire Department was coordinating with the Coast Guard and the Honolulu Fire Department to provide air and search and rescue operations on the North Shore.
The National Weather Service recorded almost 27 inches (68 centimeters) of rainfall in a 24-hour period in Hanalei.
Kauai County spokeswoman Sarah Blane said county officials had to call in off-duty firefighters, police officers and lifeguards Saturday night to rescue about a half-dozen people who were trapped by rising floodwaters in Hanalei.
The American Red Cross opened evacuation shelters at Kapaa Middle School, the Church of the Pacific in Princeville and at the elementary school.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.