Kauai Dam Bursts: Seven Still Missing (UPDATED)

Squeezed March 14, 2006

(originally written 3/14/06 7:13 p.m.)

And now, our weather woes have gone national.

An earthen dam on Kauai, most likely weakened by heavy rains, broke this morning at around 5:30 without warning, turning 300 million gallons of water from the Kaloko Reservoir into a 150-yard wide river of water tumbling downhill, destroying everything in its path. One person has been confirmed dead, and as many as seven people are still missing.

It’s hard to believe that this disaster may cause more loss of life than even Hurricane Iniki. Four of the six people killed during Iniki were from Kauai. We may have as many as eight dead there, maybe more.

The water forced the closure of Kuhio Highway on Kauai’s north shore, stranding many residents and tourists. Mayor Bryan Baptiste has declared an emergency.

Stories about the dam break:

UPDATE 3/14/06 8:52 p.m.: Reading the stories again, the dam breached between 5:30 and 6:00. Updated to reflect. Search and rescue teams have been activated and sent to Kauai. Also, a fund has been set up to help victims of the flood. Details here.

UPDATE 3/14/06 10:11 p.m.: KHON is reporting that officials are saying that nearby Morita Reservoir is overflowing, as a chain reaction. The Waita Reservoir on the south shore is also being watched closely, as a dam breach or overtop would subject Koloa to flash flooding as well.

3 Responses to “Kauai Dam Bursts: Seven Still Missing (UPDATED)”

  1. Bill Moake Says:

    That dam was a century old and you know it must have been subjected in the past to more than this week’s rainfall. The owner of the land around the dam recently lost a lawsuit over his illegally removing trees and other ground cover for many years. As part of the settlement, he started work on “improving” the dam recently. These two factors caused the dam failure, not too much rain.

  2. Keith Says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard of the Pflueger case. $12 million is nothing to sneeze at. But that’ll probably be my next entry.

  3. Freshly Squeezed Says:

    Could the Dambreak Have Been Prevented? Part 1

    The water from Kaloko Reservoir had no sooner started to rage than the fingers have started to point. The question is simple: could the Kaloko Reservoir dam break been prevented? Sure it could have. But then from there the question…

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