JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Big surf yesterday drew big crowds to Waimea Bay despite rainy and windy conditions. Lifeguards were kept busy throughout the day in what city lifeguard Capt. Bodo Van Der Leeden called "preventive duty," which included keeping the public clear of the surf. CLICK FOR LARGE
Cold front comes to isles bringing more wind, rain
Big surf yesterday drew big crowds to Waimea Bay and caused sand to block the mouth of the Waimea river
The National Weather Service says more high winds are expected today and rain tomorrow as a second cold front passes over the island chain.
The islands are expected to get a reprieve from the big waves as the high-surf warning was expected to drop to a high-surf advisory this morning.
State Department of Transportation road crews were to remain on standby last night in case the high surf again washes over highways and deposits sand onto the road. Oahu Civil Defense volunteers were expected to observe surf conditions overnight, and if necessary, to assist with traffic control and emergency measures.
Road crews were busy overnight Monday clearing sand and debris off roadways on Oahu's North, Windward and Leeward shores, said Scott Ishikawa, state transportation spokesman. The two main problem areas were in Maili and at Rocky Point near Sunset Beach, where there was as much as 6 inches of sand on the highway, Ishikawa said.
Sand pushed by the high surf also blocked the river mouth at Waimea Bay, causing the water level in the river to rise. The Waimea Bay parking lot and parts of the beach were to be closed this morning so city crews can clear the blockage.
City lifeguards did not have to rescue anyone from the high surf yesterday because they kept people off the beach and out of the water.
The waves at Waimea Bay were in the 30- to 40-foot range, but conditions were not good, city lifeguard Capt. Bodo Van Der Leeden said. In the afternoon, there were only a handful of experienced surfers willing to ride them.
"It's for die-hards only, people who are just really desperate for a moderate-size surfing session," Van Der Leeden said.
A two-hour search, with lifeguards on Jet Ski and firefighters in a helicopter, for a missing swimmer in Haleiwa turned out to be spurred by a false alarm. The high surf had apparently picked up an old, abandoned windsurfing board from the beach, and other debris in the ocean made it appear as though a person was trying to climb back onto the board, Van Der Leeden said.
Hawaiian Electric Co. crews restored power to most areas that experienced outages in Monday's high winds.
Power was restored to Kaneohe Ranch and the Wilson Tunnel late yesterday, and to Le Jardin Academy in Kailua last night, said a HECO spokesperson.
High southwest winds are expected to pick up today and reach 20-30 mph with gusts of 50 mph as the cold front approaches from the northeast, said National Weather Service lead forecaster Ray Tanabe.
The winds are then expected to taper off overnight as the front brings rain to the island chain starting sometime tomorrow, working its way from Kauai to the Big Island, Tanabe said.