The National Weather Service says be prepared for strong winds this weekend, with coastal flooding possible.
“A unusually strong storm system will move toward the islands from the north over the weekend, bringing with it multiple weather hazards,” according to the NWS in a special weather statement. “The storm will send a powerful swell toward the islands that will impact exposed north- and west-facing shores with very high surf. Additionally, the combination of strong onshore winds and high surf will increase the potential for significant coastal flooding that could lead to property damage, road closures and beach erosion.”
Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami called on residents to be prepared.
“We urge the public to secure any loose materials or objects around your home,” he said in a press release. “Those in areas prone to coastal flooding along the north- and west-facing shores should closely monitor conditions and be prepared to evacuate if needed.”
As a safety precaution, the county is closing all north- and west-facing beach parks from Kekaha to Anahola, effective today until further notice.
Numerous divisions of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are encouraging everyone to stay very aware of the coming storm.
“This could be a powerful storm, and along with all of our federal, state and county partners, we can’t stress strongly enough that anyone living or playing along coastlines should pay attention to the latest weather advisories and warnings to be sure they stay safe,” said state Board of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case.
The DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is advising all boaters with craft in state small boat harbors or using off-shore moorings to secure their vessels well in advance of the storm.
The DLNR’s Division of State Parks is advising campers and others using facilities along the coastline to move out of harm’s way if necessary.
This weekend’s forecast is mostly sunny early Saturday with winds and rain, but conditions are expected to turn stormier late Saturday. Sunday could bring stronger winds, mostly around 30 mph or with some gusts reaching 50 mph, with a 70 percent chance of rain.
“The storm system will also bring strong and potentially damaging north-to-northwest winds to the island chain, particularly Saturday night through Sunday evening,” the NWS reported. “While these winds are expected to be strongest over ridges and mountaintops, they will also accelerate downslope, impacting heavily populated areas.”
The NWS has issued a high-surf warning for all north- and west-facing shores of Kauai and Niihau in effect through 6 a.m. Monday.
In addition, intense, fast-moving rain showers or squalls may bring very strong and damaging winds as the storm makes its closest approach, according to the NWS.
“If you have outdoor plans for the weekend, be prepared for very windy conditions,” NWS said. “If your plans include marine activities, you may want to consider postponing them.”
Beach spectators are also advised to use extreme caution, as large, breaking waves could make it dangerous for those standing along the shoreline.
County, state, and federal officials are monitoring the situation and are coordinating in preparation.