WAILUKU - Mud, mud and more mud . . .
That's what faced cleanup crews Friday, particularly in hard-hit areas such as South Maui, where all Maui County parks were closed and portions of South Kihei Road were shut down from the old Suda Store to the Azeka Place Shopping Center.
County crews worked 12 to 16 hours Thursday clearing mud and debris from flooded areas, and they were back at it Friday, hauling away truckloads of the material.
Alan Gaspar, resident manager of the Koa Lagoon condominium, helps clean up the muddy mess outside the area near the corner of Kulanihakoi Street and South Kihei Road on Friday morning. “It’s a dirty mess but you got to get it done,” he said. “We got hit pretty bad.” County crews worked 12 to 16 hours Thursday clearing mud and debris from flooded areas, and they were back at it Friday, hauling away truckloads of the material. Many South Maui homes and vehicles remained surrounded by muddy water. Offshore waters were a brown, muddy soup in South Maui and elsewhere.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
"Our goal is to make all roads passable in Kihei," said Department of Public Works Director David Goode on Friday. "We only stopped work yesterday because it got dark and our guys were fatigued. But we are back to work today. An ambulance needs to be able to get in and out of there."
Public works officials asked certain Kihei residents in affected areas to leave before 7 a.m. and not return until after 4 p.m. today.
The request was to allow public works crews to "work continuously without having to stop and move for oncoming traffic," a county announcement said.
The affected areas include: South Kihei Road between the Maui Lu Resort and Kihei Bay Vista; Kaonoulu Street between South Kihei Road and Alulike Street; West Waipuilani Road between South Kihei Road and Ewa Place; South Kihei Road between Kulanihakoi Street and Piikea Avenue; and Hauoli Street near the Island Sands condominium.
Many South Maui homes and vehicles were surrounded by muddy water Friday. Offshore waters were a brown, muddy soup in South Maui and elsewhere, and off Sugar Beach a capsized 30-foot fishing boat remained in the surf, with its owner watching nearby. He declined to say what his plans were for salvage.
Also, after assessing damage to a bridge over a culvert on Hauoli Street in Maalaea, engineers determined that emergency repairs are needed, county officials said. Flat steel plates were put in place to cover a hole left by the tire of a county front-end loader that sank while working on the bridge Thursday morning.
Goode said the county would make the culvert more efficient and less likely to clog and overflow.
Residents of the nearby Island Sands condominium, whose property was flooded Thursday for a third time in less than a month, have blamed the inadequate culvert for failing to channel floodwaters away from their complex.
County officials said the culvert was the main reason the road weakened and partially collapsed under the weight of the county vehicle.
"We'll have a concrete plan soon because we need to act quickly," Goode said.
On Friday morning, Bill Hawkins, president of the Maalaea Banyans condominium board of directors, said county workers had installed a sign at the bridge telling motorists that no vehicles heavier than 10,000 pounds are allowed.
Underneath the steel plates, "it's obvious some major repairs are needed for the culvert," he said.
Meanwhile, "we're in the process of cleaning up," Hawkins said.
The condominium's parking lot was under "several inches of mud," he said. "It's dangerous for us to walk out there right now."
Eleven people sought shelter from flooding Thursday at the Kihei Community Center, according to Michele Liberty, Maui County director of the American Red Cross. She said the shelter would remain open Friday until people are able to make other arrangements for housing. Crisis-management workers interviewed the flood victims to see how best to help them, Liberty said.
Because of flooding along South Kihei Road, county refuse crews were not able to pick up trash at homes between Kaonoulu and Waipuilani streets and side streets with access only from South Kihei Road, officials said. Those missed pickups will be done Monday, the next regularly scheduled day for collections.
In addition to the closure of all county parks in South Maui, the county also closed Baldwin Beach Park in Paia, where there was extensive mud inundation. Also at Baldwin, runoff rushing to the ocean left deeply eroded swaths in some areas.
Parks workers reported that "the area is so flooded, even the portable restrooms are floating," according to a county news release.
Baldwin was expected not to reopen until Tuesday. There was no estimate on when South Maui parks would reopen for residents and visitors.
Haleakala National Park reopened all of its districts Friday after park staff members finished removing safety hazards left by high winds and heavy rains.
County transportation officials added another bus Friday to help Kihei residents hit by flooding. A Kihei Islander bus will serve riders from the Uwapo Street bus stop to the Ohukai Street stop, then go around the flooded area and take them to the Piilani Shopping Center, officials said. From there, passengers will have the option to go south on South Kihei Road or north to Maalaea and Queen Ka'ahumanu Center in Kahului.
County officials urged residents to use rubber boots and gloves while cleaning up after the storm. State health officials remained concerned about potentially disease-carrying water carried down from mauka areas during the storm.
Weather forecasters predicted nasty weather would not return soon to Maui.
Today should provide "a lot of sunshine, with some afternoon clouds over the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala," said Glenn James, senior weather analyst at the Pacific Disaster Center in Kihei. Light winds were expected to come out of the southeast, he added, possibly bringing some volcanic haze from the Big Island.
After a cool morning, today is expected to warm quickly and become muggy, James said.
On Sunday, residents can expect a transition toward more rainy weather as another cold front approaches, James said. But that front is not expected to pack the wallop of the weather system that hit Maui County on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
The cold front should pass over Kauai on Sunday morning and come down through the rest of the island chain Sunday and Monday, possibly arriving in Maui on Sunday night, he said.
Residents probably will see increasing showers, and there's a better than 50 percent chance of thunderstorms, James said.
He was quick to add that "this is not going to be a repeat performance" of the recent strong winds and heavy rain.
"It's not going to be as wet or as wild in terms of wind or thunderstorms," James said.
He forecast that on Monday residents would see some showers, but there should be some improvement through the day, especially in leeward areas. Normal trade winds should return Tuesday, he said.
Also, due to a strong storm northwest of the islands, the National Weather Service has posted a high-surf advisory for north- and west-facing shores of Maui County from 6 p.m. today to noon Monday.
Kihei also could see some rising surf, James said.
* Brian Perry can be reached at email@example.com.