Rain, wind to buffet isles
High surf is forecast for north and east shores, but flooding is considered unlikely
High surf, strong winds and heavy rains.
Expect it all this weekend as a large swell is set to produce wave faces as high as 30 feet on the North Shore tonight and tomorrow while a storm settles over the state, bringing heavy showers and strong tradewinds.
"It will be very rough and ugly," said National Weather Service forecaster Tim Craig.
The weather service issued a high-surf warning yesterday for the north-facing shores of all islands. Forecasters also warned residents that surges are likely for harbors in Kahului and Hilo. And wind will bring surf up to advisory heights for the state's east-facing shores this afternoon, with 14-foot faces
Meanwhile, rain clouds moved in over parts of the state last night, and heavy showers are expected for all islands today and tomorrow.
Flooding isn't a big worry, though, because strong winds will keep the rain showers
moving. "The wind will be quite strong," Craig said.
Today and tomorrow, winds will blow at 15 to 25 mph and gust to 35 mph. Some areas could get even stronger winds.
The high winds will pick up surf on east-facing shores this morning - an unusual swell for this time of year, forecasters say. Wave faces of 6 to 8 feet are expected today. Tomorrow, surf could get as high as 14 feet.
On the North Shore, surf will rise to 15 feet this afternoon from just 3 feet last night. Tonight and tomorrow, wave faces of 20 to 30 feet are expected.
The North Shore swell, the biggest of the season so far, was generated by a large storm off Alaska, Craig said.
In his online surf report, National Coast Data Development Center marine meteorologist Pat Caldwell wrote that the Alaskan swell and high winds will combine to produce "dangerous, rough surf for northwestern through northeastern shores."
Last night, Oahu Civil Defense volunteers were put on call in case the surf, wind or rains do any damage over the weekend. First responders and city maintenance crews have also been put on alert, civil defense spokesman John Cummings said.
"We're just going to watch it and see what happens," he said.
The weather service said shoreline residents should take precautions and be
prepared to flee in the event of flooding. Residents are also urged to stay out of the water.
Extra lifeguards are assigned to North Shore beaches this weekend to watch over the throngs of surfers expected to flock to the big surf.
"They will have plenty of coverage," said city Ocean Safety dispatcher Rob Miller. "They'll be ready for it."
The high-surf warning for north-facing shores is in effect for a 24-hour period starting at noon today.
The advisory for east-facing shores will stay up until 6 a.m. Monday.