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Friday, January 23, 2004

Last night was unusually slow.

About midnight I noticed some lightning over the west/southwest horizon.

At 12:30am it started to sprinkle. I went home, closed all the windows and brought the litter box in from the lanai.

At 1:00am we had a steady rain accompanied by a phenomenal light show.

At 1:30am the winds started blowing. Steady at 50mph and gusting to about 75mph. The rain was now coming in torrents. At 10mph, with my wipers on high, I could just barely see the roadway. The phone also started ringing.

Since it was soooo slow, I had cut our coverage down to two cabs. Now, every drunk in Kihei was calling, begging for a ride.

At 1:40am the roads began to flood. From 1:00am until 2:30am we received almost 18" of rain being driven by hurricane force gusts.

On our main coastal street (south Kihei road), we had flowing water between 1' to 3' deep. At the crest of one small hill along that road, there was 1' of water on the roadway flowing towards the really flooded areas.

By 2:00am the wind was right at hurricane strength with higher gusts and the light show was nonstop. Only briefly did it turn dark. The changing focal point of continuous illumination was difficult to adjust for. The wall of sound was like the finale of the "1812 Overture."

What would be a 10 minute run was now taking up to 30 minutes, as we often had to backtrack to use alternate routes. On one street of mild incline, the water was moving so fast that rocks the size of a lunch box were being propelled down the street also.

At 2:30am it stopped in an eye blink. The storm continued to pound the mountain above us as it moved off to the east/northeast But the roads were now flooded and the runoff was still coming down the mountain.

I had a late run to the airport and got off late. By 6:00am we still had major flooding on portions of the low road but things were starting to return to normal. Most roadways had a veneer of palm fronds, tree branches and a gravel garden.

Of course, this did not help our beach situation. We still are having high surf and having a driving rain come in from the southwest didn't help matters at all. Onel surfer "dude" told me that he went out into the storm at the penultimate and saw the wave fronts at 30'+!!!

My one joy in all this is that it wasn't snow. At the normal 10:1 ratio, that would have been 180" of snow in, basically, 2 hours. Also (my cab has an external thermometer) the temperature never went below 73F.

Those with calendars can check for the page showing Kamaole Beach Park #3. All the sand you see there is gone. The water is continuously at the edge of the grass.

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