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Weather service eases surf alerts for north and west shores

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:51 a.m. HST, Jan 21, 2013

The prolonged northwest swell that brought deadly surf conditions to the state over the weekend is expected to finally diminish Monday, just in time for another swell to arrive, surf forecasters predict.

The current swell, generated by a powerful storm off the coast of Japan, brought waves of up to 30 feet to north- and west-facing shores and resulted in numerous rescues and the closure of popular beaches on Hawaii island and Kauai. Since the high surf arrived last week Thursday, two visitors from San Francisco drowned after being swept away by large waves in waters off Kauai and another man drowned while swimming at Makaha.

On Sunday, Oahu lifeguards performed two rescues along the western shore and took a combined 2,250 preventative actions on both the north and west shores.

A high-surf advisory for north- and west-facing shores of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Niihau and the west-facing shores of Hawaii island is in effect through 6 p.m. Monday. However, the National Weather Service warns that another northwest swell expected to arrive Monday afternoon could prompt a continuance of the advisory.

Forecasters predict waves as high as 10 to 15 feel along north-facing shores and 8 to 12 feet on west-facing shores on Monday.

In the skies, north winds will transition to northeasterly trades on Monday as a high-pressure system to the west-northwest of the islands slides eastward, according to the weather service. Returning trade winds will bring moisture, resulting in showers along windward areas by the middle of the week.

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