Rain causes dam to burst in Kauai stranding visitors, residents


Unusually heavy rainfall and flooding caused a dam on the Kaloko Reservoir in the Kialuea area on the north shore of Kauai to break Tuesday morning leading authorities to close the Kuhio Highway -- the only way to or from the islands north shore, leaving some people stranded, according to Winfred Pong, a project manager for the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Seven people were reported missing, and one man was found dead, according to the Kauai Civil Defense Agency.


An earthen dam at the nearby Morita Reservoir, where the displaced water from the Kaloko Reservoir is flowing, also is in danger of failing, according to civil defense officials.

Some visitors in the area of the flooding were unable to make their flights due to the road closure, but state and county officials are working to accommodate people who are stranded, Pong said.

Karleen Abalos of the Kauai Civil Defense Agency reported that with seven people missing and so much pressure on the dams because of the dam that broke, we didnt want to take a chance on opening the road.

But, Pong said, Work crews are stabilizing and repairing the roadway now. We expect it to reopen soon on a one-lane contra-flow basis.

The Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club closed 25 rooms because of flooding, but reported on Wednesday that the rain had slowed to scattered showers.

A flash flood watch is in effect through Thursday, Pong said, which means that flash flooding is possible.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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