‘Dangerous’ surf expected this weekend; heights may reach 25, 30 feet

HANALEI — Large surf is expected for north- and west-facing shores through the weekend, according to forecasters.

A large storm that developed off the coast of Japan several days ago may bring high ocean swells late Saturday into Sunday, said Derek Rowe, forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“That would happen by daybreak. There can be some lulls and see some larger sets come in,” Rowe said. “It will steadily build throughout the day. It’ll probably reach the warning level — 25 feet.”

Peak height is forecast to hit Saturday evening or the first part of Sunday, Rowe said.

“It’s going to be building all day tomorrow. On Kauai, by noon, it’s going to be dangerous,” said Gary Kewley of Surf News Network. “It’s going to be rising relatively quick. It’s going to be super powerful because the winds were up to 55 knots on this storm.”

He said a 20-second period swell like this one will — as it marches this direction — actually touch the bottom of the ocean a thousand feet down.

“When people think all they gotta be concerned about is what’s above the surface, they don’t realize so much of that energy they you’re seeing on top the surface that there’s a ton way below,” Kewley said.

This type of surf may be large for March, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, Rowe said.

Kewley said beachgoers ought to be weary of conditions this weekend and consult local lifeguards.

“It’s going to be very dangerous. Do not go out for a photo-op on a wet rock or reef, jetting out to the ocean just cause you’re not seeing waves,” he said.

Though surf will be trending down come Sunday, Rowe said it could be a low-end advisory by Monday.

Surf heights on north- and west-facing shores peak from December to February and trend downwards through May, hitting low levels from June to August.

“If you’re new to the ocean waves, they come in sets,” Kewley said. “Don’t let it lull you out where you shouldn’t be.”


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