This does not happen often at the Rainbow Shower. In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing something like in the spring during the nearly eight years we have lived here. But one of the wonderful things about a marine climate like that we are enjoying on the north shore of Maui is – YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.
So best not to make any plans. Which suits me just fine. I like surprises.
During the past week or so, we have had unusually dry weather for this time of the year. So when I woke up this morning and saw the clouds gathering from the north and the west – also very untypical as we get most of our weather from the east and northeast – I figured, “GREAT! Let’s have it.”
I had just finished my many landscaping chores, part of my “farmer’s yoga.” So a good soaking would be most welcome for the thousands of different plants that comprise the Rainbow Shower.
But I never expected this… Noah’ Ark. And the Rainbow Shower looking like the Scottish Highlands in the mist. 🙂
Little did I know that it would end up being a flash flood. Take a look at this video I shot this afternoon around 2:30…
A NEWS FLASH ABOUT A FLASH FLOOD
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WEATHER CHANNELS BLEW THIS ONE
Want to hear something funny? Or sad, depending on your point of view?
This entire time, while the Rainbow Shower was practically floating down to the ocean with this flash flood, the Weather Channel and the Wundermap kept showing this part of Maui as sunny and dry!? Take a look…
Ah, human technology! Great when it works. Sucks when it does not. Which often happens.
Want to know what my weathervaning technology was eight years ago when I bought this property?
My index finger. I would stick it into the wind to see which way the weather was coming. It still seems to be the most dependable forecasting tool. 🙂
Here are now some other still shots I took while walking around the riverbed at the bottom of the Rainbow Shower gulch…
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FLASH FLOOD CONTINUING… DAY 2
May 8, 2016
I just got back from the gulch. And the flash flood is continuing. No surprise there. I has been raining non-stop now for about 18 hours.
Here the latest pictures I brought back of the raging creek which has now been joined by an additional stream from the West Kuiaha Rd.
FLASH FLOOD CONTINUING… DAY 3
UPDATE MAY 9, 2016
BEWARE: FALSE AND MISLEADING WEATHER MAP INFORMATION FOR MAUI?
When Elizabeth gets back home later today, she’ll be in for quite a show of Mother Nature. The flash flood down in the gulch is continuing after three days of rain and more to tome. ☔ Take a look at the picture I took a few minutes ago, You can see the debris lodged against my footbridge as well as the high water marks from earlier this morning.
Three days ago, I posted a story about the weather channels showing clear skies over this part of Maui while we were experiencing actually a deluge and flash floods.
The situation is still the same three days later. We have been having practically continuous rains. The creek at the bottom of the Rainbow Shower is raging and growling like an angry bear. But the weather maps are still showing clear skies over us.
So this morning, I decided to try to get to the bottom of it. And I found at one of the websites that the radar on Molokai, which presumably also tracks the west and north Maui weather, is “temporarily unavailable.”
What a time for a weather radar to break down!
Worse, you’d think that the government would warn people when something like that happens. I had to hunt all over the place to find out why the weather maps showed clear skies over us while we are being washed away to sea by the deluge.
Government… No wonder with radar technologies like that they bomb hospitals and kill innocent people all over the world.
They did issue this verbal warning this morning… three days AFTER the flash floods had already started:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HONOLULU HAS ISSUED A FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR MAUI.
FLASH FLOOD WATCH FROM 7:01AM HST MON UNTIL 6AM HST TUE…
Makes you wonder what the source of this “flash flood warning” is? (given that the radar is not working). Field reports like mine?
By the way, I did write to the national weather service about the possible radar malfunction three days ago but have not received a reply.
FLASH FLOOD… DAY 4: FINALLY, A BREAK IN THE WEATHER
UPDATE MAY 10, 2016
Finally, a break in the weather. It’s still cloudy, mind you, with occasional drizzle. But this morning, I saw some blue patches in the sky for the first time in four days.
“It’s nice to see we still have blue skies,” I told Elizabeth. 🙂
Even Father Sun has been making an effort to drop it for a visit in between the clouds. But shyly. It’s been mostly just a hint of sunshine here and there. But no complaints. We’ll take what we can get after four days of rain and flooding.
When Elizabeth left for her art class, I went down to the gulch to investigate the damage. Overall, not bad. Both of our bridges are still there. The foot bridge has been severely tested, especially by this big limb lodged against it since yesterday morning.
But the bridge has stood its ground. My four steel anchors I drilled into the ground a couple of years ago are still holding. But when I tried to dislodge this limb yesterday, I could not. At least not safely balancing precariously on a one-foot wide slippery foot bridge over the roaring river.
So I went back to try again this morning. Still no luck. I walked over to the other river bank to see if I could move the limb from there. No go again. The limb was firmly imbedded into the river bank as if drilled in by some pneumatic hammer. Such is the power of water.
Then I tried a different tack. I took another big piece of wood and tried hitting the big limb with it. Finally, it gave way. And the river grabbed it like a hungry shark swallowing its breakfast. But it did travel far. Only about 15-20 ft. Then the limb got stuck again between two big rocks. And the last I saw, it was still there, trying to fight off the now receding creek from carrying it out to sea.
Here’s a pictorial of this story…
Back at the house, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one trying to get out enjoy the fresh air and the shy sun. Take a look at this green lizard on the ironwood block we have in front of our lanai. He looked like a happy camper, too.
PRETTY BAD, BUT NOT THE WORST FLOOD OF ALL TIME
Overall, I have to say this has been probably one of the worst floods we have had recently. And that’s compared to some pretty bad ones we experienced last year during El Niño. It was not the worst, though. The worst was probably the Great Flood of 2013.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of that flood was that I had actually seen in a dream a couple of months BEFORE it happened- http://yinyangbob.com/2013/Feb%202013.html.
The reason the more recent and more frequent floods have not caused as much damage as that one in 2013 is just that – that they were more frequent. Meaning, the water has deepened and widened the riverbed. So now it has more room to expand and does not clog up the ground in front of the bottleneck – the two-culvert bridge from which the above photos were taken.
Anyway, it has just started raining again… 🙂 So it goes.
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UPDATE MAY 11, 2016
I spoke too soon yesterday when I said, “finally, a break in the weather.” For, it was shor-lived. By mid afternoon, it was raining again as hard as ever. And the rain continued all through the night, heavy at time.
So no wonder by the time I went down to the gulch a little after 7 this morning, that the flooding was even worse than yesterday morning. And so was the damage after more than 16 consecutive hours of rain. At that point, the water level had risen again and a part of the raging creek was running over a part of my our footbridge.
But the footbridge held. When I went down again a few hours later, the flood had receded by about two feet, and out “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was still intact (I borrowed the title from Simon and Garfunkel 🙂 ). I can’t say the same for the wooden boards and the red mulch that once formed the western Panax tree-lined boundary of our property.
Here are some other pictures I brought back of the flood scenes…
PERENNIAL AVOCADO TREE
The silver lining in all this is that the plants and trees of the Rainbow Shower are very happy. Take a look at this Avocado tree, bursting with orange bloom (these are actually new leaves which are orange at first, before turning green).
This particular tree has a colorful history. We got it in April 2009 as a small potted plant as a housewarming gift from a neighbor. I planted it at the top of our property. It died after a few months.
But I did not accept its death as final. So I dug up its roots and replanted it at the Lower Rainbow Shower, about 50 yards to the right of its current location in the above picture. Again, it lived for a few months, and then died.
Once again, I refused to acknowledge its passing. I dug up the roots again, and replanted it at the above location. And look at it now! Ever seen a happier young Avocado tree?
In fact, in the last couple of years, it even gave us a few Avocado fruit as a “thank you” gift. Not many. But just enough to express its gratitude and happiness with its current location.
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UPDATE MAY 13, 2016
DRAINING THE SWAMP, LITERALLY
DITCH-WIDENING AND IRRIGATION WORK TO ALLEVIATE FLOOD WATER FLOW
About six months at the end of the El Niño season, I created a little engineering diversion to protect the new Panax tree boundary and the red mulch on the ground between the seedlings (see A DITCH-DIGGING AFTERNOON, Dec 23, 2015).
The new irrigation ditch did the job admirably until now. But after five consecutive days of rain, it was overwhelmed by the flow coming down from the West Kuiaha gulch.
So this morning, I went down to try to drain the swamp by widening and deepening the ditch. And by building a new little berm to protect the Panax line.
The work was hard but the reward was almost immediate. The water flow increased substantially through the ditch, and practically diminished elsewhere where it was doing damage to the trees and the red mulch.
This is what I looked like at the end of this ditch-digging adventure… covered in mud but three pounds lighter after about 2 hours of hard labor. So success all around… 🙂
UPDATE EVENING – MAY 13, 2016
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK: FROM DITCH-DIGGING TO GALA CONCERT AND RECEPTION IN JUST A FEW HOURS
A few hours after the grueling ditch-digging and irrigation work at the Rainbow Shower, Elizabeth and I attended a gala concert and reception to celebrate 35 consecutive years of the Maui Classical Music Festival.
The event took place on stage at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC). So it was limited to just 150 people who could be fitted on the stage.
“So we are now sitting the chairs on which the symphony orchestra players sit,” Elizabeth remarked. “They are quite comfortable.” 🙂
And so they were. Here are some pictures from that performance. I have transferred my ditch-digging “outfit” to the MACC concert hall to illustrate how easily one can transition from earthly to the sublime.
UPDATE MAY 14, 2016
RAINBOW SHOWERS “Ménage à Trois:” GREEN LIZZY, RED CARDINAL AND PINK JELLYFISH
When I headed down to the gulch to see how my new and improved drainage ditch is working, I was stopped dead in my tracks by this lovely “mé·nage à trois” on our lanai.
Ever since I moved out this big and very heavy block of ironwood, with the beautiful Jade and Travertine stone table top, our Green Lizzy has been hovering around it. And this morning, he decided to climb right on top of it. A perfect camouflage with the Jade top and the green grass. And a wonderful contrast to the Red Cardinal and the Pink Jelly fish inside that crystal ball Elizabeth brought for me one year from Sedona (AZ).
And yes, the new and improved drainage ditch is doing its job. The excess flood water is no longer running over the boards and the red mulch. What read mulch? Most of it is gone down the river. And what’s left is more the color of mud than red 🙂 ].
UPDATE MAY 25, 2016
ANOTHER FLASH FLOOD ROARS THROUGH THE RAINBOW SHOWER AS SUN SHINES
I heard it before seeing it. Even from 600 feet away, up at our Rainbow Shower home, I could hear the roar of the rising river.
“Another flash flood,” I said to myself.
Only a few hours ago, I was down there at the bottom of the gulch, walking around and inspecting the weed-whacking job my landscapers did yesterday. That’s how quickly flash floods can develop around here. And not for the first time, either. I remember a similar one in March 2012.
So I grabbed my waterproof camera and headed down into the gulch. I needn’t have worried. The iPhone could have done the job, too. Interestingly, the sun was trying to shine through the clouds as the raging river was making its presence known at the Rainbow Shower once again.