Coastal Flooding Could Cause Holiday Travel Dangers

November 27, 2019, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated November 26, 4:26 PM
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The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation issued a statewide advisory message Tuesday warning motorists to beware of possible coastal flooding along the shores of all main Hawaiian Islands through Friday, Nov. 29.

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement alerting Hawai‘i residents and visitors of potential coastal flooding impacts, which can be accessed online.

HDOT reminds drivers of the following when driving in adverse conditions:

  • Never go through standing or moving water on the road. There may be dangers you can’t see beneath the water such as a road washout, debris, tree branches or power lines. Flood waters can also affect a vehicle’s mechanisms years after the initial contact and may not always present a problem right away.
  • If you are driving through an area with shallow ponding, slow down to avoid hydroplaning and allow for increased stopping distance. If you cannot see the road or road markings through the water, do not try to drive through. Remember, stopping distance, or the length of road your vehicle travels between when you press on the brake and your vehicle comes to a complete stop, increases when roads are wet. HDOT crews are on standby to respond to reports of debris caused by overtopping on state roadways.

Big Island roads that are typically affected by coastal flooding include, but are not limited to:

  • Bayfront Highway (Route 19) in Hilo.

HDOT recommends that all drivers check weather reports before getting on the road. The link to the Hawai‘i County emergency notification system can be found here.


In the case of substantial, sustained closures of state routes — for example, full emergency closure of a state highway lasting more than a couple hours — HDOT will issue emergency closure information through GovDelivery, Twitter and Facebook. To sign up for GovDelivery notifications from HDOT, go online.

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