Dam overflows in Hawaii destroying homes and sparking evacuations

Dam overflows in Hawaii destroying homes and sparking evacuations after 13inches of rain fell in eight hours – as video shows Tesla driver desperately trying to escape rising flood water

  • Residents were forced to evacuate after 13.2 inches of rain fell in eight hours
  • Drivers were caught in the rising waters as they desperately headed to safety
  • Six homes and two bridges were heavily damaged amid warnings of landslides 

A dam has overflowed in Hawaii with flooding from heavy rains destroying homes and sparking evacuations.

Residents were forced to evacuate on the island of Maui after the National Weather Service reported 13.2 inches of rain on the North Coast between 7am and 3pm on Monday. 

The rains led to the cresting of the Kaupakalua dam in the island’s northern region of Haiku, state emergency management officials said in a statement. 

Evacuation centers have opened and two bridges have been destroyed in the torrent. 

Terrifying footage has also emerged showing a driver getting caught in the flooding as he desperately tried to get to safety on the island. 

Floodwaters sweep over Hana Highway near West Kuiaha Road in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, on Monday

Six homes were heavily damaged or destroyed, according to Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino’s office late Monday. He urged people to be vigilant amid evidence of landslides.

‘Resources are being pushed into this area right now,’ Victorino said during a live address on Facebook.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is a real flooding situation we have not seen in a long time. In fact, some of the residents have told me that this is the worst they’ve seen in over 25 years,’ he said.

The Maui Fire Department responded to more than a dozen calls for help from residents trapped by rising waters.

Terrifying footage shows a Tesla driver getting caught in the flooding as he desperately tried to get to safety on the island

About six homes were heavily damaged or destroyed, according to Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino’s office late Monday

Shan Tsutsui, the chief operating officer of Mahi Pono, a co-owner of the dam, said water over-topped the reservoir but it hadn’t failed.

‘At this time, the over-topping of the dam has ceased. However, our crews are actively monitoring the situation and will continue monitoring the water levels until it returns to a safe level,’ Tsutsui said in a statement.

He urged anyone who needed to shelter to go to evacuation centers that were set up at Hana High School and the Paia Community Center.

‘If you have family and friends and you can get out of the area, that is probably preferable. But be careful if you see high water, turn around and go back,’ Victorino said. ‘Do not try to cross it at this time.’

Residents were forced to evacuate on the island of Maui after the National Weather Service reported 13.2 inches of rain

People who needed to shelter were sent to evacuation centers that were set up at Hana High School and the Paia Community Center

The Maui Fire Department responded to more than a dozen calls for help from residents trapped by rising waters

He also urged tourists to stay in their hotel rooms or other lodging and not go out Monday evening.

County spokesman Brian Perry said he didn’t know how many people were downstream of Kaupakalua Dam, which is in the town of Haiku.

A state website says the earthen dam was built in 1885 and is 57 feet (17.4 meters) in height and 400 feet (122 meters) in length. It belongs to the East Maui Irrigation Company, which was created to divert water from streams to feed sugar plantation lands.


A heavily flooded road is seen near the breached Kaupakalua dam, in Haiku on Maui

The state regulates 132 dams across Hawaii, most of which were constructed as part of irrigation systems for the sugar cane industry

Mahi Pono, which grows a variety of crops on former sugar cane land, co-owns East Maui Irrigation with Alexander & Baldwin Inc., a commercial real estate developer with roots in the sugar industry.

The state regulates 132 dams across Hawaii, most of which were constructed as part of irrigation systems for the sugar cane industry.

Of these dams, 93% are classified as high hazard potential, which means a failure could result in significant loss of life or property, according to a 2019 infrastructure report by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

A dam failure turned fatal in Hawaii in 2006, when seven people were killed after the Ka Loko dam on the island of Kauai collapsed and hundreds of gallons of water rushed downhill.

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