HONOLULU – Heavy rains pounded Oahu on Friday, flooding a mall, several homes and causing gridlock on the roadways. The rains also triggered another sewage spill.
Kahala Mall had to be evacuated as toys, food, chairs and other debris floated in brown murky water inside the shopping center. Flood waters rushed through the theater complex and then flooded some of the 90 shops with more than a foot of water.
Officials believe the water backed up on a street above the building, flowed into the parking lot and down through the movie theater before flooding the mall.
Mall officials said damage estimates won't be completed until Saturday.
The National Weather Service placed the state under a flash flood watch until at least 4 p.m. Saturday.
Oahu Civil Defense said several homes in Makiki were sitting in water. A few residents in McCully were evacuated.
The heavy rain also flooded a portion of the Moanalua Freeway and forced the closure of the Honolulu Zoo and most city golf courses.
Several events have been postponed because of the conditions including this weekend's Honolulu Centennial Family Festival at Ala Moana Beach Park and the Special Olympics Hawaii Central Honolulu Track and Field Meet.
More than 36,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater spilled from the Waimanalo Wastewater Treatment plant into a gulch that leads out to sea at Bellows Air Force Station.
The Honolulu mayor's office said the ground was so saturated, the plant's injection wells couldn't handle the inflow.
The spill comes exactly a week after a sewer line broke in Waikiki, sending nearly 50 millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the ocean before the 42-inch main was repaired Wednesday. Signs have been posted along Waikiki warning of the high bacteria levels in the water.
The state Health Department said it could take up to a month before bacteria levels around Waikiki's beaches return to normal.
Rain has been falling continuously in Hawaii since Feb. 19.