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High surf warning keeps Honolulu Ocean Safety busy around Oahu

  • Video by Jamm Aquino / jaquino@staradvertiser.com

    Big waves pound Oahu's North Shore on Monday.

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / 2016
                                The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave surfing contest was held at Waimea Bay. A high surf warning issued this morning for the north and west shores of Hawaiian isles from Niihau to Maui due to an extra large, northwest swell remains in effect through 6 a.m. Wednesday.

    STAR-ADVERTISER / 2016

    The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave surfing contest was held at Waimea Bay. A high surf warning issued this morning for the north and west shores of Hawaiian isles from Niihau to Maui due to an extra large, northwest swell remains in effect through 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Honolulu’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services division was busy today with rescues around Oahu.

The city said 14 rescues were performed on the North Shore of Oahu today, with approximately another 1,500 preventative actions taken by lifeguards. Another 16 rescues were made in West Oahu, with around 3,000 preventative actions taken.

Around 10:30 a.m., two men who were reportedly in distress were rescued in waters off Mokuleia Beach Park. Another woman was able to make it back to shore unassisted.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., city lifeguards at Makaha Beach rescued an injured individual in the shore break. He was later transported by Emergency Medical Services to a local hospital in serious condition.

And around 4 p.m., lifeguards responded to Army Beach to assist with a search for a missing surfer. The surfer eventually made it to shore safely.

Ocean Safety also announced today that Yokohama Bay will be closed to the public tomorrow. A high surf warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday due to dangerous waves and/or strong rip currents. Surf heights could build to anywhere between 25 and 35 feet along north-facing shores on Oahu; surf could reach 18-24 feet along west-facing shores.

Officials warn of ocean water surging and sweeping across beaches, potentially impacting coastal properties and infrastructure, including roadways. Powerful longshore and rip currents will also be present at most beaches.

The large, breaking waves and strong currents may impact harbor entrances and channels, making boat handling a challenge.

“Anyone entering the water could face significant injury or death,” the advisory said. “Boaters should be aware of an increased number of surges and body boarders utilizing the harbor channel to access surfing areas.”

A high wind warning has also been issued for the summits of Hawaii island, which includes Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea above the 8,000-foot elevation level, effective through 6 p.m. Tuesday.

East winds of 35 to 60 miles per hour, with gusts up to 70 mph, are expected.

Officials said winds this strong can make walking or driving dangerous, and forcefully slam doors. The public is advised to postpone travel to the summits.

Forecasters, meanwhile, say breezy tradewinds from the east are expected to last through Tuesday, but that they will weaken, starting Tuesday night as a cold front approaches from the west.

The cold front is expected to sweep from west to east across the state, bringing showers to Kauai on Thursday, then travel past the Big Island on Friday. Strong, northeast trades and cooler air are expected to come in behind the front.

In addition, organizers of the 34th annual Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational issued a yellow alert late last week, but said on Sunday that the contest would not run this Tuesday “due to the swell arrival time and questionable wave size.”

The holding period lasts through Feb. 29.

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