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County warns of potential flooding as storm approaches

Maui County is urging people to prepare for potential impacts, including flooding, landslides and power outages, from a storm bringing heavy rains to the state over the next few days.

The county is expected to see the most impact from the storm on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

“To all of our residents and visitors, please be especially cautious this weekend because excessive rain can cause sudden hazards,” Mayor Michael Victorino said in a news release Friday. “Our county workers are implementing mitigation measures to lessen the threat of flash flooding and I ask the public to do the same. Please do not travel to Hana this weekend unless it is truly necessary. Roadways in and out of Hana are vulnerable to landslides and dangerous flash floods.”

Rainfall had already begun on Friday, with 5.35 inches of rain recorded at the Puu Alii gauge on Molokai over a 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m., the most countywide, according to the weather service. The Kula Branch Station recorded 2.01 inches, the most on Maui, while Lanai saw less rain with 0.40 inches at its Lanai 1 gauge.

On Friday, the state Department of Health also issued a brown water advisory for Maui island as stormwater runoff entered coastal waters.

The Maui Emergency Management Agency and Emergency Operations Center are meeting to prepare for excessive rain, said Herman Andaya, agency administrator.

He said people should prepare an emergency kit, review or establish a household emergency plan and stay informed.

Damage resulting from extreme weather can be reported at www.mauicounty.gov.

More information on emergency preparations is available at www.mauicounty.gov/emergency.

The weather service issued a flash flood watch for the state on Thursday. High surf warnings are also in effect through 6 a.m. Monday for north-facing shores of Maui and Molokai, with waves of 20 to 30 feet expected today, as well as west-facing shores of Molokai, where waves of 14 to 18 feet are predicted.

Haleakala’s summit is also under a wind advisory until 6 a.m. Monday, with winds of 35 to 55 mph and gusts over 65 mph in the forecast.

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