LIHUE — The winds and surf being experienced on Kauai are not the result of Tropical Storm Niala.
Niala, as of Sunday afternoon, was located 280 miles south of Hiloand 500 miles south-southeast of Lihue, and moving west-southwest near 9 mph. This movement, according to the National Weather Service, is expected to continue through Tuesday afternoon with some slowing after today.
The rainfall and surf hazards expected to affect the Big Island and parts of the state are mainly associated with strong trade winds which are driven by the gradient flow along the south side of a strong high pressure located north of the main Hawaiian Islands.
Elton Ushio, the director of the Kauai Civil Defense, explained it simply as Kauai is sandwiched between two weather events — the high pressure on the north and Niala on the south.
The NWS said the hazards, both wind and surf, are quite real, but the Niala component as their generation source is diminishing rapidly.
A high surf advisory was issued Sunday for east-facing shores until 6 a.m. today for waves and surf between 5 to 8 feet along the east-facing shores. The advisory cautions for strong breaking waves and shore breaks and strong longshore and rip currents making swimming difficult and dangerous.
Breezy trade winds will remain across the Hawaiian Islands over the next several days. Moisture embedded in the trade winds will bring showers to the other islands.
The NWS is forecasting drier air moving in with the trade winds starting today and continuing through much of the work week.