Hawaii declares state of emergency over threat of ‘catastrophic flooding’

The Hawaiian Islands could experience “catastrophic flooding” from a storm system lasting until Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

Nearly one foot of rain has already fallen in Kula on Maui over the last 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Honolulu.

Rainfall storm total amounts of 10 to 15 inches are anticipated, with isolated areas of 20 to 25 inches possible, the NWS said.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige declared a state of emergency Monday due to the heavy rains, which he said were “anticipated to continue to cause flooding damage to public and private property.”

The declaration allows the use of funds “to support state and county efforts in providing quick and efficient relief of suffering, damage, and losses caused by flooding and other effects of heavy rains,” Ige said on Twitter.

On the Big Island, 8 inches of rain have fallen in the past 24 hours in multiple locations. Rainfall is beginning to wind down Monday morning.

However, heavy rain was still forecast to fall across Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. A flash flood warning has been issued for the islands of Molokai and Maui.

“Localized rainfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour will exacerbate ongoing flooding from earlier rainfall. Portions of leeward Maui have received over 6 inches of rain over the past 6 hours, and runoff remains high,” NWS Honolulu said.

Landslides are expected and in some cases, highways may be closed due to flooding and landslides, potentially cutting off communities.