Kihei Floods

January 31, 2023

Maui is brown no more. In fact. After the 20 inches or more that fell on the island over the last 4 days, the whole island of Maui is as green as the rain forest town of Hana. Green, green, green; it’s so beautiful!!!

Green, green, green; it’s so beautiful!!!

With that much rain comes flooding. And we have had huge flooding these past few days. The gulches from upcountry came rushing down  to Kihei, and they were RAGING!

Way upcountry, where the water falls began

Rushing, out of control water heading down from thousands of feet above Kihei

The north end of South Kihei Road was closed on Friday. Combining that road closure, the persistent rain, after school traffic, and rush hour, it was a gridlock disaster. 

We all learned about patience this past Friday

Our normal 25-30 minute shuttle service from Kihei Rent A Car to the Kahului airport for our customers was 1.5 hours each way! Whoa! As soon as we saw the traffic backing up we began communicating with our departing renters and had them either take their car directly to the airport or come catch a much earlier shuttle. Happily, everyone made their flights.

Unfortunately, 3 of our rental cars were totaled in the flooding. Several condos in north Kihei had rivers of muddy water rushing through their parking lots. One condo actually had flooding in their first floor units. The occupants of that building were relocated due to the damage.

Rental cars underwater in their Kihei condo parking lot

The muddy water line shows how high the water got

A muddy mess once the water receded

Once a car gets any amount of water inside the doors, almost always it’s a total loss. Even a small amount of water inside a car can cause mold, odors, and mysterious malfunctions that make the car unrentable.

It’s hard to see what this is…after peeling back the rug and floor of one of our Nissan Sentras, water was pooled in the floor of the car.

Usually Maui has heavier rain storms in the winter months. Last year in 2022, there were flood causing storms in the months of September and December. This year it’s January. 

Kihei is located on the south shore of Maui, which is normally very dry. The flood waters are mainly caused by runoff from higher ground. The community itself got less than 2 inches of rain on Friday. But Upcountry areas, like Kula and Pukalani, got more than 4 inches. And a lot of that water ended up going through Kihei.

So yes, we love when all of Maui turns green and lush. But ideally it would be due to rain showers that are spread throughout the year. Since this isn’t the case lately, we all need to adjust and learn how we can coexist with such a powerful source.


Tip: Alway turn your rental car around when you come to a large puddle, rushing runoff, or stream in the road. It’s not worth the loss that can happen. If you are staying in a hotel or condo that has ever flooded in the past (and these condos/hotels know who they are!) and a storm is predicted or you see heavy rain coming, move your car to higher ground! Even if it doesn’t flood, it’s best to not take any chances.






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