WAILUKU >> An alert system is being developed to give West Maui residents a six-day heads up when large wave and flooding events are possible.
The University of Hawaii ocean observation program will use a $500,000 federal grant to start developing the system in October, The Maui News reported. Development will take three years.
“This is very site-specific … and it will increase overall preparedness for the public, county, road crews, emergency managers,” said Fiona Langenberger, communications and program coordinator for the project.
The system will also be able to help communities and government entities when developing properties along the shoreline. It will be able to provide data to plan for flooding scenarios based on rising sea levels and increasing wave energy, according to a university news release.
The project comes on the heels of recent king tides events, where peak high tides have coincided with unusually high sea levels.
These king tides events are expected to increase in number and duration, according to the release. The high water levels and large wave swells can result in coastal erosion, damage to infrastructure and properties and sedimentation that decreases coastal water quality.
Rising sea levels and erosion have led to the ocean splashing onto lanai at condos on the west side. Homeowner associations have had to seek permits for expensive projects to fortify shorelines fronting their buildings to prevent them from falling into the ocean.