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The Wettest Place on Earth
March 14, 2006 9:27 PM   Subscribe

8 people and 3 houses were swept away on Kauai today - the island that was already slammed and battered by weeks of rain (over 18 inches in 24 hours last month). More dams are expected to fail. Today's disaster should have been predicted?
posted by Surfurrus (19 comments total)

 
Re: prediction -- that last link, last paragraph (2/22/06) "Despite the erroneous call of a dam breaking in Koloa, it was a pretty normal rain event, Marshall said. While six homes did flood in Koloa town, it was due to a dike, and not the Wait Reservoir dam, he added."

Koloa dam was the one that broke today.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:33 PM on March 14, 2006


And the rain's still coming down here on the west side, though not as bad as last night
posted by Zbobo at 9:54 PM on March 14, 2006


In a related story, Dir. Michael Chertoff filed a report today stating that the DHS is still considering the Army Corps of Engineers' strong recommendation that they use coconut shells and sugar cane to repair the damaged levees in New Orleans.
posted by roguescout at 10:20 PM on March 14, 2006


There are a lot of old dams in the US that aren't getting proper (or any) maintenance, I wonder how old this one was?

Very, very sad for the families.
posted by fshgrl at 10:21 PM on March 14, 2006


I lived on the North Shore of Oahu for three years.

I've got really good friends that live out by Kahuku (next on that storm fronts list of things to do).

And I was just meaning to give them a call and see how they we doing with this next batch of rain ...
posted by Relay at 11:16 PM on March 14, 2006


Zbobo -- I was over there (on the west side) over the weekend; guess that is partly why I posted ... it was obvious even before this happened that Kauai has taken a pounding.

fshgrl -- one report I heard was that most of these dams were built by the sugar planters (almost a century ago?) -- and of the 40 in the state, 30 are considered dangerous (per HPR/NPR report this afternoon)

Relay -- windward O'ahu roads were closed for floods this afternoon; Kahuku may be hit hard again, too.
posted by Surfurrus at 11:59 PM on March 14, 2006


As someone who works on old sugar lands, I can say the irrigation systems still around are intricate and pretty fascinating. Many miles of ditches and resoirvoirs are all over the island, all winding down to the lower-lying agricultural areas. Surfurrus is right though- seems that much of this infrastructure is showing its age.
posted by Zbobo at 12:32 AM on March 15, 2006


It could have been predicted, since I'm getting married there next week. That should have been sufficient warning to clear the island and evacuate the coastline of nearby landmasses.
posted by freebird at 12:40 AM on March 15, 2006


It has been, if you pardon my French, a fricken mess out here for weeks. Flooding all over the place. Not just the seriously damaging kind, but the "three inches of water and mud everywhere you walk so don't bother wearing any shoes you like" kind.

There's been a lot of talk about the dams and bridges and roads near streams and such. At least Manoa didn't completely flood yet.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:04 AM on March 15, 2006


Congrats, freebird!
posted by brundlefly at 2:11 AM on March 15, 2006


I spent two years ('96-'98) in the basement of Hamilton Library at UH so I was very sad when it was washed out in the 2004 flood. Hopefully that won't be happening again.
posted by obfusciatrist at 2:19 AM on March 15, 2006


That flood was due to people dumping shit (read: large trees, etc) into the stream. I remember those nights and thinking I'd never heard so much rain in my life, but it was definitely not just a "force of nature" problem. Realized how much you take the library for granted, though.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 3:37 AM on March 15, 2006


The add at the bottom of the page is a little much though.
posted by iamck at 5:39 AM on March 15, 2006


one report I heard was that most of these dams were built by the sugar planters (almost a century ago?) -- and of the 40 in the state, 30 are considered dangerous (per HPR/NPR report this afternoon)

Assuming that's true, who should pay to fix/replace them?

A couple centuries of paving, deforesting, digging, tunneling, stripping, channeling and generally fucking up the place (all places, that is), well, that's where the blame goes.
posted by Witty at 6:43 AM on March 15, 2006


I'm still amazed that there are multi-lane freeways in Hawaii.


< /obviously never been to hawaii>
posted by stenseng at 9:01 AM on March 15, 2006


GEORGE BUSH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT ISLAND PEOPLE.
posted by davelog at 9:05 AM on March 15, 2006


Assuming that's true, who should pay to fix/replace them?

OMG ... how about Jimmy PFLUEGER?!

Yesterday a Kauai friend mentioned Pflueger, who, just last week was fined over $7 million for environmental crimes (he DESTROYED a reef!). It was the largest EPA fine ever given to a single landowner.

I had no idea he was connected to this disaster too.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:19 AM on March 15, 2006


Yeah, Pflueger is a scumbag.

Also, as much as I would like to blame our islands' problems on Bush, most of our infrastructure problems we very literally made for ourselves. There's only so long you can put off fixing or cleaning something before it falls down.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:22 PM on March 15, 2006


Just got this (brief) email from a friend that lives in Malaekahana (just down the road from Kahuku):

"HIGH AND DRY!
But tired of it!!!!
Sounds like kauai got some serious shit with the washed out highway.
That stuff is just murder for tourism... "

Aloha.
posted by Relay at 3:00 PM on March 15, 2006


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