Strong winds in the north-west Pacific Ocean sent towering waves crashing along Hawaii’s coast, prompting officials to close beaches amid fears that some waves could reach as high as 50 feet.
The National Weather Service put high surf warnings in effect for the north-facing shores of all the islands except Lanai until later today.
“High surf coupled with unusual high tide levels have a tendency to magnify the effects of the event and increase the probability of damages to homes, roads and infrastructure in the affected areas,” said Doug Aton, acting administrator for Oahu Civil Defence.
A handful of beaches on Oahu were closed, and Kauai County officials closed beaches on the Garden Isle’s north shore as a precaution.
In the past, such high surf has caused damage to beachfront homes, and left beachside roads and highways littered with debris.
The agency advised residents to avoid the beaches and stay out of the water, but city lifeguards said they expect some of the largest crowds of the season to attend a seldom-held big wave surfing contest.