CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Firefighter Mike Seeger, on a waverider, prepared yesterday to find boaters who were reported capsized near Kailua Beach Park. All were later reported safe, with no injuries.
Stormy weather heads toward island chain
Brace yourself -- the first big southwesterly blows of the winter are coming.
Kauai is likely to feel winds up to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph, and accompanying rain this afternoon, said National Weather Service forecaster Ian Morrison.
Oahu will get its share tonight, and Maui County, tomorrow.
The windy, rainy weather is expected to last until the weekend, though reducing in strength Thursday and Friday, Morrison said.
It comes on the tail of high surf that hammered the north shores of Kauai, Oahu and Maui yesterday, closing three beach parks, injuring one tow-in surfer and making for a hectic day for lifeguards.
The strongest winds are likely to be on the windward side of each island as the southwesterly winds whoosh down the mountains, Morrison said. The wind is expected to have less effect on the Big Island.
The weather service advises bringing in outdoor lawn furniture and other loose items outside to prevent them from blowing around.
"If your Christmas ornaments are in an exposed area and you want to keep them," Morrison advised, bring them inside, too. And put batteries in your flashlights.
Because it has been almost a year since such heavy winds have blown, "we're more likely to have power outages," Morrison said.
Usually by the second high-wind storm, the weak branches have been blown down, and power failures are less of a problem, he said.
A different weather system propelled northwest swells that forced closure of Maui's Baldwin and Hookipa beach parks and Oahu's Waimea Bay yesterday afternoon.
Shore-break waves damaged the shoreline, smashed a wave ski and an all-terrain vehicle, damaged a picnic pavilion and left debris throughout Baldwin Beach Park, the release said.
At Hookipa Beach Park, wave faces were 30 to 50 feet, Archie Kalepa, Maui's ocean safety operations supervisor, said in the release.
"When it's this big, it's actually a lot easier to convince people to stay out of the water," he said.
Kalepa also reported that two surfers were rescued yesterday north of Kapalua at Honolua Bay, where surf was in the 30-foot range.
At Oahu's Waimea Bay, lifeguards had to rescue a man who lost his boogie board and was swept by rip currents from the Sunset Beach side of the bay to the Haleiwa side, lifeguard Abe Lerner said.
"Two guards told him it was not advisable to go in there," Lerner said, but the man unwisely persisted.
Honolulu lifeguards warned 1,200 people away from high surf, said Bryan Cheplic, Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesman.
Fishermen in an 8-foot boat got swamped off Lanikai Beach yesterday afternoon and were assisted to Kailua Beach by other boaters and lifeguards, Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said.
Kauai Police and Fire departments spent much of yesterday urging surf watchers to stay away from the ocean but reported no rescues, Kauai spokeswoman Mary Daubert said.