North Shore residents should be prepared to evacuate this weekend while surf as high as 60 feet could wrap around Oahu all the way to Makapuu and Diamond Head, city officials said today.
And everyone should put away or tie down loose objects outside their homes and be aware that high winds could topple power lines and trees, while sending debris flying through the air.
“Be flexible with your travel plans this weekend as the highways could be impacted, roadways could be impacted,” said Hirokazu “Hiro” Toiya, director of the city’s Department of Emergency Management.
“National Weather Service is telling us they haven’t seen a pattern like this in some time,” Toiya said. “We don’t exactly know what the impacts will be, but the potential is significant. So for those folks that are living on the North Shore, we would urge them to be vigilant and be prepared for the possibility that they may need to evacuate their homes.”
If so, the city likely will open evacuation centers, he said.
The National Weather Service predicted surf as high as 25 to 35 feet Saturday and 40 to 60 feet Sunday along north and west-facing shores of Niihau and Kauai, and north-facing shores of Oahu, Molokai and Maui.
At the same time, wind gusts of over 50 mph could develop Saturday. And sustained west winds of over 40 mph — with gusts over 60 mph — are possible for some areas Saturday night through Sunday night.
If power lines should fall on a moving vehicle, Toiya urged drivers to remain calm, pull over, call 911 and wait for help.
“Help is going to come,” he said. “Let the professionals handle it.”
Jim Howe, the city’s director of Emergency Services Department, said lifeguards will be warning people to stay away from the shoreline. “For those folks that are visiting the island, this isn’t the kind of surf you’re going to go and get a picture of one of our famous big wave surfers,” he said. “Nobody’s in the water on the North Shore right now. It’s too rough. It’s not a great time to head out to the North Shore and think you’re going to get that picture or see that famous Hawaiian surf that everyone wants to see.”