‘Powerful’ north-northeast swell declines, but not before closing roads and beaches

High surf warning in effect for north, west and east-facing shores across the state with waves up to 35 feet.
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 5:23 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2022 at 9:32 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Warning level surf for north-facing shores was expanded to include east-facing shores across the state Saturday, along with north and west shores of Hawaii Island.

Beachgoers were advised to use extreme caution as large breaking waves could make it dangerous for those standing along the shoreline.

The larger than usual waves in Hilo had a big impact as they spilled over Bayfront Highway and into Mooheau Park and Soccer Field.

Due to the pounding, people were re-routed to the intersection of Kalanianaole and Kolea.

“Coming down the road, I saw the waves break over the shoreline and onto the road,” said Christian Luis of Wynwood Farms. “There is quite a sight, it was rather beautiful, but I didn’t realize it was going to affect the roads today.”

Despite beach and road closures, many headed to the Hilo Bayfront area to check out the high surf.

“It happens every once in a while, especially around winter,” said one bodyboarder. “You know we get these big northeast swells coming in and like today’s the day.”

Others stood along the shoreline snapping photos or to simply take in the view.

“It really looks violent,” said Ellen Hocker. “Never seen it that high, never.

“It’s amazing.”

Download HNN's weather app for everything you need to plan your day.
Download HNN's weather app for everything you need to plan your day.(Hawaii News Now)

“It looks pretty junky but there are some rides,” said Demian Barrios. “We can see a couple people out there surfing but you can see this storm surge washing up, real disorganized.”

A northeast swell peaked at the same time as the high tide in Hilo this morning, Honolulu National Weather Service Senior Forecaster Thomas Birchard said.

He added that surf this large doesn’t generally come from this direction.

“A lot of times the Big Island doesn’t see the frequency of high surf that we see on Kauai and Oahu,” said Birchard. “But every once in a while, we do get these giant northeast swells that come in.”

Several beaches and parks on Hawaii Island are closed including Keokea, Coconut Island, Onekahakaha and Kealoha.

Over in Kauai, Kalapaki Bay was closed.

And on Oahu, the city closed the beach and lower areas of Hanauma Bay.

“Hanuma Bay faces south or southeast,” Birchard said.

“And the fact that this northeast swell is getting even into there speaks to how powerful it actually is,”