Big surf: what to expect from meteorologist Ray Tanabe

Big surf: what to expect from meteorologist Ray Tanabe

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - National Weather Service forecaster Ray Tanabe joins Guy Hagi on Hawaii News Now to explain what we can expect from the huge swells heading towards Hawaii.

Guy Hagi: Let's go to National Weather Service where Ray Tanabe joins us. Will this be the type of historic surf event that we'll remember years from now?

Ray Tanabe: Absolutely Guy. Certainly if not the swell that's coming over the weekend, the swell that's set to follow Monday or Tuesday is going to be significantly larger than the first. As you mentioned earlier both swells are not only going to be a threat those in the water but land may also see the impacts. We urge all beach goers that are going to watch the swell to keep an eye out on waves coming up on the beach. Even if you are on dry land you are not safe. Property owners can see waves in their front yard as well. We are certainly going to see some waves wash up on the coastal roads.

GH: So that's your biggest concern with these storms-- the coastal run up...

RT: Absolutely. Again, we are going to see a lot of debris and sand and rocks get thrown up on to the roadways. We urge everyone to follow all the instructions from water safety officials and any civil defense or emergency mangers that are out there.

GH: Just how powerful are those storms that generate these waves? What are the wind speeds? Hurricane strength aren't they?

RT: For the storm that we expect on Monday and Tuesday its actually a pair of storms up in the Northern Pacific. Each one is going to have hurricane forced winds. The two combined are going to generate a very large fetch area strong winds averaging 40-60 MPH pointed directly toward the Hawaiian islands.

GH: Does this have anything to do with El Nino that's going on right now and what are the chances of seeing waves this size again this season?

RT: Not out of the realm of possibility. During El Nino season in 1998, you saw a couple of very large swell events. Larger swell events during El Nino winters.

GH: Thank you Ray Tanabe from the National Weather Service. Keep in mind these are the types of swells that are very life threatening, even if you are not in the water. Be very careful over the next several days into the middle of next week.