High surf closes Hanauma Bay (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A large north-northeast swell is bringing dangerously large surf to the Hawaiian islands.
Ocean safety officials say they conducted 84 ocean rescues due to the high surf. Some 78 of those rescues occurred along east facing shores, four on north shores and two on west shores.
About half of the east facing shores were active assists to swimmers back to shore at Sandy Beach.
A High Surf Warning is in effect for east shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island. A High Surf Advisory has also been issued for north-facing shores of these islands.
Both the warning and advisory are in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Surf is forecast to rise to 12 to 20 feet along north and east shores.
The City and County of Honolulu said Hanauma Bay was closed Wednesday due to the high surf, but it was reopened on Thursday.
High surf also sent debris onto Kamehameha Highway between Hauula and Kaaawa Wednesday morning.
On the Big Island, high surf has also resulted in the following closures: Bayfront Highway, all Hilo beach parks, Coconut Island, the parking area near Mooheau Band Stand, Mahukona Wharf and Keokea Beach Park.
And Kauai County officials said no swimming is allowed at all North Shore beaches, west of the Hanalei pavilion to Ke'e Beach, including Anini Beach.
Ocean water may occasionally sweep across beaches, with very strong breaking waves and strong longshore and rip currents. This will make it very hazardous to enter the water. Breaking waves may also impact the entrances of north-facing harbors, which could make it dangerous to navigate harbor channels.