Large Landslide Near Hanalei Bridge Isolates North Shore Community
Multiple agencies are responding to impacts caused by this week’s severe weather, following state and county emergency disaster declarations. The Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency’s (KEMA) Emergency Operations Center has been activated in coordination with county, state, federal and non-governmental partners.
A large landslide at the Hanalei Hill has closed off all vehicular access on Kūhiō Highway just prior to the Hanalei Bridge, essentially isolating the North Shore community. Hawai‘i Department of Transportation officials report that debris is continuing to come off the slope. They are anticipating it will take a day, weather permitting, for conditions to stabilize in order for personnel to assess and conduct debris removal. Updates will be announced as emergency response plans develop.
“Our North Shore community has been through so much over the years, and again they are called to overcome a great challenge with many unknowns at this time,” said Mayor Derek SK Kawakami. “We want to assure our residents and visitors that we will get through this together. We understand that more rain is anticipated for Kaua‘i through at least Friday, so right now the best action to take is to shelter in place, stay off the roads, and stay tuned to updates which we will provide as more information becomes available.”
First responders have been mobilized in the area and are also able to access the North Shore community by boat and Air 1 operations for emergencies.
Due to limited access, all county beaches in this area are currently closed and will not have lifeguard services until further notice. Additionally, the state Department of Education announces that Hanalei Elementary School is currently closed.
A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the island of Kaua‘i until at least Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service.