NWS Upgrades Flash Flood Watch to Warning

January 11, 2020, 9:18 PM HST
* Updated January 11, 10:52 PM
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The National Weather Service upgraded the flash flood watch to a flash flood warning for the districts of Hāmākua, North and South Hilo, Ka‘ū and Puna.

Daniel K. Inouye Highway closed at about 9 p.m. due to flooding and debris on the roadway by mile markers 11 and 18. Motorists are advised to avoid the area. Highway 11 in the Ka‘ū District is also closed between mile markers 58 and 62 due to flooding in the Kawa area.

One lane is closed on Highway 19 in Laupahoehoe Gulch near mile markers 25-26 due to a landslide.

All residents in flood-prone areas are asked to remain on the alert for flash flooding. Those who choose to evacuate, should do so before flooding occurs. A shelter is open at the Butler buildings behind Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.


Officials advise the public be on the alert for run-off, ponding of water and debris. Do not cross moving water in a vehicle or on foot; turn around, don’t drown.


If lightning threatens the area, the safest place to be is indoors.

Throughout the day, footage of the swelling Wailuku River and Waiānuenue Falls circulated on social media.

Isaac Krakauer has been capturing video of the high waters. At about 7 p.m., he posted a recap of the raging Wailuku River and waterfall with aerial and ground shots. In his post, he thought it looked like an increase in rain since Friday.


“Over all, I would say this is the most rain I have seen consistently in the time I have lived here,” Krakauer said.

A resident of Pāhoa and now Hilo for the past 15 years, Krakauer said the only other storm that “would even compare would be Hurricane Iselle,” which he felt had a lot more wind, but around the same intensity of rain.

The difference between this week’s rain and Iselle is the duration of the storm. While Iselle was overnight, Krakauer said, rain has been falling for at least three days.

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