KHON2: Lawmakers work to save neighborhoods ahead of severe weather

Before the storm: Lawmakers work to save neighborhoods ahead of severe weather
by: Kristy Tamashiro, KHON2, Feb 21, 2022

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Heavy rain in January turned Paakea Road in Waianae into a river.

“A lot of people are stranded for at least a week,” said Sophie Flores-Manansala, a Waianae resident. “They couldn’t get out and go to work. They couldn’t get onto the bus. The buses wouldn’t come. It was flooded.”

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro is working on a solution in the form of funding major upgrades and repairs to the areas streams, canals and drainage ditches.

“This bill really aims to put the spotlight again on the severity of the problem in hopes that the powers that be and the funding can get get appropriated to address this issue,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro.

So far, no dollar amount has been put forward on the project, but Shimabukuro says the state is working with the City on a short-term solution.

“Department of Planning and Permitting is also conducting inspections of various properties that may have unknowingly put up structures, grading, or retaining walls on their properties that have caused their neighbors to get flooded,” said Shimabukuro.

Similar measures are being proposed for the intersection at East Manoa Road and Oahu Avenue. Lawmakers say for more than 60 years, the intersection has flooded after heavy rain, making the roadway impassable for drivers and dangerous for pedestrians.

Meanwhile, the islands could see more flooding in the near future.

“Our projections are still for wetter than average conditions especially in March coming up,” said Kevin Kodama, National Weather Service Hydrologist. “March is typically a pretty wet time of the year.”

As rains come to pass, Shimabukuro says we need to find something that will last long-term.

“In light of the fact that more rain is hitting our way, global warming is causing these strange and severe weather patterns. We have to be prepared for the worst at any given time,” Shimabukuro said.

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