Storm system heads for islands
Strong wind, high surf and heavy rain could arrive today
Giant and messy waves, strong winds, clouds and rain are all in the forecast starting today for the islands because of an approaching storm, according to the National Weather Service.
The system was moving fast about 1,350 miles north northwest of Honolulu yesterday afternoon with another front developing behind it.
Kona winds in the 25 mile per hour range with 30 mile per hour gusts could become a hazard for windward residents in Kaneohe and Waimanalo as well as in the summits of the Big Island.
"There will definitely be unsettled weather and big surf," said lead forecaster Sam Houston. "I don't see a flooding scenario but we'll keep a very, very close eye on that."
The state Civil Defense Agency is aware of possible weather damage to homes and roads and will be monitoring the storm, said John Cummings III, spokesman for Oahu Civil Defense.
ON OAHU, the swell should start building today with wave faces in the 18-foot range on north shores and 12 feet for west shores. The surf is expected to peak around Tuesday, when another reinforcement could send waves as high as 40 feet crashing on outer reefs off Oahu. The swell's direction also could threaten low-lying homes on the Kona coast of the Big Island, Houston said.
Because the storm is passing close to the islands, it will make the surf stormy, likely spoiling any plans to start the prestigious Eddie Aikau big wave contest at Waimea Bay.
Contest official Jodi Wilmott said organizers are monitoring the upcoming swell and hoping to run the event. Because of its minimum wave requirement of 25 feet, the Eddie has only happened seven times in 20 years.
"It looks like we are going to have the size, but we need quality too," Wilmott said. "If it is just a chopped up mess, no one is ready to ride."