MAKAHA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With 20- to 30-feet waves forecast to hit Oahu's Waianae Coast, the state closed the last beach park before Kaena Point and shoreline residents prepared for the worst.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the Keawaula beach section of Kaena Point State Park at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to preserve public safety. City lifeguards and state DLNR enforcement personnel asked park users to leave the area by sundown.
Officials were concerned that high waves will flood dips and low points in the 1.5 mile road to Yokohama Bay, possibly trapping anyone who drives in to the park area. State officials and lifeguards will evaluate the area Wednesday morning and decide whether it will remain closed.
On the beach in front of the Makaha Beach Cabanas, maintenance workers dug trenches in the sand Tuesday afternoon to get ready for the big surf.
"For if the water does come up, and it just doesn't stay up here. We'll just kind of divert into the trench and back out," said Greg Roe, the resident manager of the complex who's lived there for 11 years and managed the facility for the last six years.
The condo sits close to the ocean with several fairly flat areas of the beach in front of it. So there's not much to stop big waves that are expected over the next two days.
So condo crews filled sandbags and put them in spots they know have been hit by large waves before.
"We will sandbag our laundry area and the beach key access area where we do have some electronic rooms and stuff on the lower level that we don't want to get damaged, you know, elevator rooms and stuff like that," Roe said.
Kenike Houston lives in a first-floor unit and already had sandbags lining her lanai early Tuesday afternoon, in preparation for Wednesday morning's high tide in this area that's expected just before 8 a.m.
"Well, you know, you put out the sandbags and you take your normal precautions, you know, and that's about all you can do, you know? Just hope for the best," Houston said.
Kenny and Mary Ellen McCullough travel each year here from Delaware to stay in Makaha and they planned to get up early to watch the waves roll in.
"I'm thinking about staying safe but also looking forward to seeing it," Kenny McCullough said.
"They are staying in a second-floor unit, "So we'll be hopefully looking down at it," he joked.
Several homeless people along the Waianae Coast told Hawaii News Now they had no idea about the expected big waves.
Hawaii News Now notified one homeless man, Jim Nelson, camped out just a few feet from the ocean about the dangerous forecast.
Reporter: "It could be 20 to 30 feet, here at Makaha, along the Waianae Coast."
Nelson: "I didn't know that."
Reporter: "What you think, what you gonna do, then?"
Nelson: I'll have to go inland."
Later in the afternoon, volunteers with the city's emergency management department warned about 40 homeless campers and families along West Oahu's coastline that high surf was expected and they should head to higher ground, a city spokesman said.