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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

High-surf warning in effect for Hawaii's shores

Advertiser Staff

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a high-surf warning from noon today and until 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Surf is forecast to rise to 20 feet to 25 feet along north- and west-facing shores of Niihau and Kauai later this afternoon. Surf will also rise 20 feet to 25 feet along the north-facing shores of Oahu, Maui and Molokai early tonight. Surf is expected to rise 15 feet to 20 feet along the west-facing shores of Oahu and Molokai tonight.
A high-surf warning means that battering waves will pound the shoreline that can result in dangerous swimming conditions and deadly rip currents.
In anticipation of the large swells, the Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division has issued an advisory reminding all beachgoers to:
• Always swim at a beach with a lifeguard.
• Consult with a lifeguard regarding ocean conditions BEFORE entering the water.
• Heed all warning signs – they are there for a reason.
• Never swim alone.
• Call for a lifeguard or dial 9-1-1 If you see someone in distress
• Know your limits — If in doubt, don’t go out!
The Ocean Safety advisory said the high surf warning will likely be extended as a larger northwest swell is expected to fill in late Thursday into Friday. Forecast models indicate open ocean swell heights in excess of 20 feet with rather long periods. This would produce near-shore wave heights similar to what was observed a few of weeks ago (surf heights in excess of 30-40 foot face value range), the advisory said.
In addition, the recent high surf events of early December have also caused significant erosion at select locations on Oahu’s north and west shores. Considering the potential added erosion from this week’s swell event the result could cause significant coastal wave run-up during the peak of the episode on Friday morning. Residents and visitors are being encouraged to take the necessary precautions to protect life and property, the advisory said.
“The arrival of these large swell events coincides with the Christmas holiday so Ocean Safety personnel are anticipating there will be much more people at the beach,” Bryan Cheplic, Emergency Services Department public information officer, said in the advisory. “With this is mind, city lifeguards are again asking for the public’s continued cooperation to help maintain the high level of safety and care provided to all beachgoers.”
For public information regarding ocean conditions, advisories, and warnings, the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division provides a pre-recorded report which can be accessed 24 hours a day; at 922-3888 x 51 or visit: www.hawaiibeachsafety.org