HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A high surf warning is in effect for the north and east-facing shores of nearly all the Hawaiian islands, and forecasters say wave heights could reach 25 feet in some areas.
The National Weather Service office in Honolulu says the warning will be in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday for the north and east shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island.
Forecasters expect the waves on both shores to build to 20 to 25 feet by early Wednesday morning, peaking in the afternoon.
Police on the Big Island have shut down Bayfront Highway in both directions due to the high waves and debris. Kauai authorities advised that there would be no swimming or snorkeling allowed at beaches along north- and east-facing shores.
Authorities say to expect ocean water surges and the possibility for damage across coastal properties and infrastructure, including roads and bridges along east-facing shorelines that normally don't see waves this large. Breaking waves may also sweep across lava flows entering the ocean on the Big Island. Large breaking waves and strong currents may also impact harbor entrances and channels and make it challenging to navigate in places like Kahului and Hilo harbors.
Waves this big will bring inexperienced persons should stay off beaches and adjacent beachfront areas. Officials want to remind visitors and beachgoers to heed warnings and advisories and listen to ocean safety personnel. Underwater rip currents and violent shore break can easily sweep individuals out to sea.