Kauai after devastating storm: What’s open, what’s closed

Officials survey damage last Thursday from a recent storm on the island of Kauai that left the area temporarily flooded. Tourism officials tell travelers it's safe to visit popular places such as Hanalei.
(County of Hawaii / Associated Press)

Hawaii tourism officials want visitors to know that Kauai’s North Shore is open for business, though some roads and resorts remain closed after disastrous, record-shattering rains flooded the area in mid-April.

The powerful storm dropped 28 inches of rainfall during a 24-hour period on April 14-15. On Tuesday, the County of Kauai issued this update on conditions.

What’s open

— Most of the North Shore’s resorts, restaurants and shops are open, including the St. Regis Princeville and the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, both in Princeville, as well as the Tahiti Nui restaurant in Hanalei.


George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, stressed that tourists will play an important role in getting residents back on their feet.

“Visitors have been staying away from Hanalei, which is hurting businesses and putting at risk the jobs they provide to residents,” Szigeti said in the Tuesday news release.

“Visitors can help with the North Shoreʻs recovery by patronizing Hanaleiʻs restaurants, retail shops, specialty stores and activities that support the livelihoods of so many area residents.”

What’s closed

— The Kuhio Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha remains closed because of landslides. Flooding and landslides are not uncommon along the highway, but this storm stunned even longtime residents. It left hundreds of people living west of Hanalei cut off and without water or electricity for roughly a week.

— The Hanalei Colony Resort, located on the ocean in the hardest-hit area, remains closed and will stay shuttered for several weeks.

“The resort itself emerged from the storms in excellent shape, but the surrounding area remains inaccessible and in a state of emergency,” read a notice on the resort’s website. “Hanalei Colony Resort is currently not receiving guests and canceling all reservations through May 31. All pre-paid bookings through that date will be refunded in full.”


The statement also urged would-be guests to be patient in their efforts to reach the property. Only a limited number of employees are available to handle phone calls.

Kauai County’s planning director Michael Dahilig is using the resort as a base of operations from which to provide information and resources to affected residents.

— Communities west of Hanalei remain inaccessible due to the closure of the highway. Officials have not yet determined when the two-lane road to the remote, northwest tip of the island — with its beautiful, isolated beaches — will reopen.


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