High Surf Warning closes West Hawaii beaches




Hapuna Beach remained closed today due to the high surf.

Hapuna Beach remained closed today due to the high surf, courtesy Lynn Beittel of Visionary Video.

KONA, Hawaii – A High Surf Warning is in effect for the Big Island of Hawaii, and a number of Kona-side beaches have already been closed.

Already closed, according to county officials: Hapuna Beach, Kahalu’u, La’aloa (Magic Sands), Kohanaiki (Pine Trees), and the public beach areas of Kukio and Four Seasons Resort. UPDATE: Added to the closure list: Kapa’a, Mahukona, and Kauona (Mauna Kea Beach)

UPDATE (4:45 p.m.): Civil Defense says the OTEC beach area has been added to the list of closures.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources also added the Kua Bay section of Kekaha Kai State Park to the closed list. “The Mahaiula section of Kekaha Kai is more protected,” wrote DLNR ,”so will remain open for the present and will be monitored by State Parks staff.”

Lapakahi State Historical Park is also closed, “due to waves breaking over the coastal trail area”, DLNR reports.

DLNR also went ito detail about the closure of the popular Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area:

StateDLNRDLNR, Dec. 20, 2013

“According to Hawaii County Ocean Safety this morning there were 10-15 foot waves breaking in Hapuna Bay, and washing all the way up to the vegetation line of the beach area. Division of State Parks has closed Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and parking lot area, including the Waialea section The park will probably remain closed all day. DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers are assisting with the closure. The cabins and cabin area at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area remain open. ”

map courtesy National Weather Service

map courtesy National Weather Service

Hawaii County Civil Defense said in an alert message (click above to hear) that the warning will be in effect until at least 6 p.m. Saturday.

The National Weather Service says the large northwest swell will keep hazardous surf through Saturday. “The swell has more of a westerly component than normal,” meteorologists say, “so west facing shores of the Big Island will see much larger than normal surf.”

From the high surf warning posted to the National Weather Service website:

National Weather ServiceNational Weather Service, Dec. 20, 2013

“* Surf… 20 to 30 feet for north and west facing shores of Niihau and Kauai and north facing shores of Oahu, Molokai and Maui with locally higher sets. The larger sets will be more frequent on north and west facing shores of Kauai and Niihau.

* timing… Surf will build rapidly across the area today.

* impacts… High… Expect ocean water occasionally sweeping across portions of beaches… Very strong breaking waves and strong longshore and rip currents. Breaking waves may make navigating some harbor channels dangerous.

Precautionary/preparedness actions… Stay well away from the shoreline in the affected areas. Heed all advice given by ocean safety officials and exercise extreme caution.”

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