HONOLULU — Residents and businesses are still cleaning up from flooding that deluged parts of Kauai, but community leaders are urging tourists to keep coming so residents don’t suffer an economic calamity on top of record-breaking rains that smothered a normally green landscape in reddish-brown water. Some travelers are cancelling their reservations after getting the wrong impression the mid-April flooding damaged the entire Hawaiian island. Although landslides blocked roads and floods tore apart homes and uprooted trees, most of the island is unscathed. Nearly 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain fell in one 24-hour period. Some tourists are avoiding the island’s north shore where fast-moving waters swept away cars, even though many businesses have reopened. Tourism is the biggest industry on the island there and most restaurants and shops rely on spending by visitors to stay afloat, providing jobs for thousands of Kauai residents. Kauai County Council Chairman Mel Rapozo, who works as a hotel night auditor, said some visitors have been talked out of canceling their trips but that others cancel them online without speaking to anyone. “My concern is the economic impact should those businesses start closing up — even temporarily — because they do employ a significant… Read full this story
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