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Big waves churn shorelines

A high-surf warning covering nearly all islands will stay in effect until tomorrow

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 3:43 p.m. HST, Nov 3, 2010

Big waves kept lifeguards on Oahu's North and West shores busy yesterday, the first day of a high-surf warning expected to remain in effect until tomorrow.

Lifeguards made six rescues on the North Shore and three rescues on the island's Leeward side, the Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division said.

None of the rescues required emergency treatment.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu issued yesterday a high-surf warning through tomorrow afternoon for north shores from Niihau to Maui. The western shores of Niihau and Kauai are also covered by the warning. The weather service said surf will remain in the 25- to 35-foot range through today along those coastlines.

"A powerful low passing well north of the islands has generated a large north-northwest swell that will continue through Thursday," forecasters said.

Surf along western shores of Oahu will be 12 to 18 feet, while the Big Island's north shores will see 15-foot surf, forecasters predict.

With waves reaching 30 feet on the North Shore and 10 feet in Makaha, lifeguards issued hundreds of warnings to beachgoers to stay away from the surf.

On the North Shore, lifeguards told people about dangerous surf 1,025 times and made six rescues by 4 p.m. yesterday. On the Leeward side, lifeguards issued warnings 530 times.

A high-surf advisory, meanwhile, was in effect for the eastern shores of all islands, west-facing shores on Oahu and the North Shore of Hawaii island.

On the Big Island, authorities closed Onekahakaha, Kealoha and Leleiwi beach parks in Hilo yesterday because of unusually high surf conditions, the county's Civil Defense said.

People in the Keaukaha-Leleiwi area were asked to use caution because of dangerous surf conditions, the county said.

On Oahu's east side, surf was 6 to 10 feet high yesterday at Sandy Beach and 6 to 12 feet high at Makapuu, lifeguards said.

A high-surf warning indicates that large waves will make for dangerous swimming conditions and deadly rip currents, they said. Forecast estimates are for the height of the face of the waves.

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