Storm: Maui residents warned of possible leptospirosis, urged to use caution during cleanup
Updated at 3:32 p.m. with leptospirosis warning from the State Department of Heath.
WAILUKU, Maui—Government officials are advising Maui residents to take precaution when cleaning up after a storm brought flooding throughout Maui. The State Department of Health gave a warning about leptospirosis, while Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa urged residents to use caution when they drive and when they are cleaning up.
Leptospirosis is a rare, severe and contagious bacterial infection which can be found in fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine. Because of the recent heavy rains, health officials feel there is a good chance that infected water from the mountain areas where wildlife is abundant may be in the mud and water surrounding residential neighborhoods.
For this reason, residents are urged to wear rubber gloves and rubber boots to avoid exposure as the disease can enter through breaks in the skin and mucous membranes. If anyone feels flu like symptoms (fever, headache, muscle ache) they are urged to see a doctor immediately.
Otherwise Maui County Civil Defense is standing down to a level three which means they are monitoring the weather situation at this time. National Weather Service radar shows another storm system coming, however it may not be as intense as the weather which hit this morning.
On Thursday, Maui County crews were kept busy due to heavy storm rains. Officials had already has issued a Drinking Water Advisory a day earlier due to a damaged 8-inch water main in the Kula area. The Department of Water Supply is advising Upper Kula residents and businesses from Waiakoa Road to Kanaio to boil water as a precautionary measure.
Maui police have extended the closed area of Honoapililani Highway from Maalaea Harbor to the Laniapoko area. State crews continue to work at clearing a rockslide which was reported at 5:23 a.m.
South Kihei Road is still closed in many areas, the worst being reported near Kalama Park. Police are asking that residents do not use South Kihei Road at all as the road is completely impassable.
Police are also urging residents who have had to evacuate their homes to go to the two emergency shelters set up by the American Red Cross. One at the Kihei Community Center and the other at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Maui Economic Opportunity has also opened up a third shelter at Eddie Tam Gym.
The Department of Education has closed four schools, Kamalii, Kula, and Kihei elementary and Lokelani Intermediate. Montessori School of Maui in Pukalani has announced it is closed as well.
The following is a list of road closures according to County public works officials:
- North Kihei Road is blocked by a large tree that has fallen across the roadway. Police are alternating traffic and waiting upon state highway crews for removal.
- Flooding has forced the closure of Hauoli Street in Maalaea.
- Halama Street at Welakahao is closed due to flooding.
- Amala Road, Alamaha Street, Papa Avenue at Kahiki, Ohaa at Maalo and Ohaa at Aleo are all closed due to flooding.
The following parks are are also closed: Kepaniwai, Waiehu Golf Course, Kanaha Beach Park and Kamaole Beach Park 2. All Molokai parks are also closed.
Central Maui Landfill and EKO Compost is closed due to inclement weather. This is in addition to Refuse collection today on Maui postponed to tomorrow or Saturday. The satellite landfills (Hana, Molokai, and Lanai), and Olowalu Transfer Station are closed.
The combination of flooding and the rockslide has forced the county to shut down Maui Bus service for both the Lahaina and Kihei areas.
Haoli Road in Maalaea is also closed due to flooding. Maui police have closed one lane of Hana Highway near Maliko Gulch but are allowing traffic through.
Goodfellow Bros. have volunteered their heavy equipment and are on standby to help with clean-up efforts.
At 6:45 a.m. state highway work crews were still busy trying to clear a rockslide on Honoapiilani Highway, but said continued rain and mud coming down the mountain are hampering their efforts.