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Kamehameha Highway reopened, but dangerous surf continues to pound North Shore


    Surf flooded a parking lot at Haleiwa Alii Beach Park this morning.


    Janet Morgan, left, and Nicki Morris photographed the surf today at Haleiwa Alii Beach Park during a large northwest swell.


    Waves crashed over the breakwater at Haleiwa Boat Harbor during a large northwest swell today at Haleiwa Alii Beach Park. Waves of up to 55 feet were forecast through the day.


    The Mayor’s Office released this photo, taken by a member of the public, showing sand over the highway at Makaha this morning.


    The Mayor’s office released this photo, taken by a member of the public, showing sand over the highway at Makaha this morning.

  • COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT The high surf undermined a utility pole near Laniakea, causing the pole to lean over Kamehameha Highway.

    Large waves crash into the shore at Shark’s Cove during a large northwest swell today in Pupukea on Oahu’s North Shore. Waves of up to 55 feet were forecast through the day, and Haleiwa and Waimea Bay beach parks were closed due to the high surf.

VIDEO: Dangerous surf washes over roads, closes North Shore parks

Dangerous surf with heights up to 50 feet washed over roads, flooded beach parks, threatened at least 1 home, kept lifeguards busy and prompted the closure of a large section of Kamehameha Highway on Oahu’s North Shore.

The state Department of Transportation closed the highway at 2 p.m. in both directions from Haleiwa to Turtle Bay, because of the high surf and reopened the road at about 6 p.m., when the surf subsided.

Forecasters said the swell appeared to have peaked late this morning, however another high tide came in this afternoon and another high tide is expected at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Emergency crews were watching a home on Kamehameha Highway that was in danger of falling into the water.

Shayne Enright, an Ocean Safety Division spokeswoman, said lifeguards rescued 115 people and issued 1,250 warnings at Sandy’s and other east-shore beaches, where wave heights were reported up at up to 24 feet.

Makapuu Beach Park closed this afternoon after a boat broke free of its moorings at about 2:15 p.m. and drifted to Makapuu because of the northerly swell, officials said. The boat broke up in the surf zone sending debris into the water.

Six rescues and 1,000 warnings were issued on the west shore, where waves reached heights of 30 to 40 feet and water washed over the road at Makaha Beach, Enright said.

Lifeguards also issued 950 warnings on North Shore beaches. There were no rescues and most people stayed out of the water on the North shore, where wave heights were estimated at 50 feet at Waimea Bay and conditions were choppy.

Earlier today, the city Department of Parks and Recreation closed Haleiwa Alii Beach Park after waves flooded a parking lot. Two other parks — Haleiwa Beach Park and Waimea Bay — were also closed, a spokeswoman for the Ocean Safety Division said.

The state also cited “dangerously high surf conditions” in closing Keawaula Bay in the Kaena Point State Park Reserve today.

Debris washed over parts of Kamehameha Highway at Laniakea, Chun’s and Rockpiles overnight after the high surf combined with north winds and high tide at 3 a.m washed over roads.

North and west shores on Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai and north shores of Maui and Hawaii island are under a high surf warning until 6 p.m. Tuesday. East shores of Oahu, and west shores of Maui and Hawaii islands are under a high surf advisory.

On Kauai, the county advised beachgoers that there is “no swimming” at North Shore beaches from Polihale to Anini Beach.

Lifeguards reported waves of up to 35 feet with strong rip currents.

“Spectators are also advised to use extreme caution, as large breaking waves are sweeping up onto the shoreline and can easily knock peopleoff their feet and drag t hem into rough surf,” the county said in a news release.

Old Government Road in Waa Waa, in the Puna district, is closed just south of Kuna Street and about a mile north of Sadileck Road bcause of high surf, the Hawaii County Police Department said. The area is also called Honolulu Landing.

The National Weather Service said surf impacts could be “extreme,” with surf surging over the shoreline with the potential for significant damage to coastal properties, including roads.

John Cummings, a spokesman for the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management, said so far the waves have not washed over Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa, where a section of road shoulder washed out during a swell earlier this month.

Surfing conditions are “disorganized,” said Tom Birchard, a forecaster with the Honolulu office of the National Weather Service. The swell was generated fairly close to the islands so waves are running into each other, creating a lot of whitewater, few surfable waves and water running up further onshore, he said.

“The waves are kind of piling on top of each other,” he said.

Sunset Beach resident Richard Peck, a surfer, said conditions were too dangerous to surf. “I wouldn’t get into the water,” he said. “There’s too much debris in the water. You could get clubbed to death.”

The weather service also warned about entering the water during this swell.

“Anyone entering the water could face death. Stay well away from the affected shoreline. Take action to protect boats and shoreline property. Be prepared to use alternate routes in case of road closures,” forecasters said.

Forecasters expect surf on the North Shore of Oahu to decline to 25 to 35 feet Tuesday. West shores should see surf lower to 15 to 20 feet and wave heights are expected to decline to 6 to 8 feet on east shores.

The surf conditions were not good enough for The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave surf contest.

Contest organizer are watching another swell that could arrive Wednesday and peak Thursday morning with potentially Eddie-sized waves of 40 feet.

However, a cold front is also expected to arrive at the same time, which could bring rains and winds that could make surfing conditions unsuitable for the contest.


Star-Advertiser reporters Craig Gima and Timothy Hurley contributed to this story.

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