Record Rainfall Soaks Hawaii

Flood alerts have islanders abandoning their homes
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2008 9:38 PM CST
Keali'i Martins wades through the floodwaters in his aunt's yard in Hilo, Hawaii on Monday, Feb. 4, 2008 as his cousin Ala Medeiros looks from her dry porch. The city of Hilo received more than 20 inches...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A record downpour of 11 inches in 24 hours has damaged dozens of homes and sparked a flash-flood alert in Hawaii, MSNBC reports. No injuries have been reported, but many residents are voluntarily fleeing their homes in Hilo, the state's second-biggest city. "The situation in Hilo is critical and a life-threatening situation now," said Big Island mayor Harry Kim.

Thundershowers are forecast for tonight, particularly in the southern islands, forcing many rescue crews to stay inside to avoid lightning. However, the Army Corps of Engineers is inspecting improperly maintained levees that hold back two rivers, and a brown-water advisory has been issued for the Big Island after raw sewage was found seeping into the Pacific today.