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Drenching rains in Hilo

<p>HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald</p><p>Water splashes over cars as they travel through a flooded area on Piilani and Hinano streets Friday afternoon.</p><p>HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald</p><p>Vehicles make a splash as they drive through a flooded area on Piilani and Hinano streets Friday afternoon.</p><p>HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald</p><p>Wade and Gwen Kitamura of Itsu’s Fishing Supplies stand in the front of their store that often floods when Hilo gets heavy rains.</p><p>HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald</p><p>Gwen Kitamura of Itsu’s Fishing Supplies holds pictures from security cameras of she and her husband Wade trying to sweep out water after their store flooded during recent heavy rain.</p>


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Windward residents may not want to put that umbrella away just yet.

The National Weather Service has extended its flash flood watch for the Big Island through tonight, as heavy showers remain likely.

A winter storm warning for Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa was also extended through today.

“It’s going to be more of the same tonight and tomorrow,” said Bob Burke, NWS meteorologist, on Friday. “We are expecting a greater drying trend beginning Sunday and a little more headed into next week.”

Showers remained concentrated on the windward side by early Friday.

In Hilo, monsoon-like downpours passed through one after another on Thursday and Friday with quieter shower breaks in between.

Within a 12-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Friday, Hilo International Airport saw 4.59 inches of rain while Pahoa received 3.53 inches.

No accumulations were available for the leeward side Friday afternoon, though NWS noted a nearly stationary patch of heavy rain six miles east of Milolii.

Mauna Kea Access Road remained closed on Friday. The summit was expected to receive between six and 12 inches of snow by today.

The near-constant, heavy rainfall saturated streams and provided spectacular, roaring waterfalls for visitors, while creating a bit of a mess for motorists who had to negotiate flooded roads with limited visibility.

A few roads in Hilo saw lane or temporary closures but overall the impact appeared to be minimal, said Darryl Oliveira, county Civil Defense director.

“It’s been pretty good,” he said, while knocking on a table for good luck.

Some debris had to be removed from Highway 270 at mile-marker 26 and a motorist required assistance from the Fire Department to cross Hoaka Road, Oliveira said.

For Wade and Gwen Kitamura, the rain proved to be more than just an outside nuisance.

The owners of Itsu’s Fishing Supplies on Piilani Street in Hilo found much of their store flooded on Friday, a typical occurrence during heavy rainstorms due to poor streetside drainage, Wade Kitamura said.

“It comes down like a river,” he said, pointing up the street, where the water flows and collects in his parking lot.

The water had receded by noon and the Kitamuras were open for business.

But the floors remained wet and the carpet in the back saturated.

Gwen Kitamura said it may take a week to dry.

“It happens fast and it keeps on coming,” she said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

The Kitamuras said the county has dug a couple holes for drainage in the parking lot, but they feel it has little impact.

“It hurts us badly,” Gwen Kitamura said. “We’re just a two-person operation.

“I don’t need this stuff.”

Email Tom Callis at


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