The Latest: Swells in Hawaii, California likely connected

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Big waves hit Hawaiian Islands’ north shores, California.

HONOLULU (AP) — The north shores of all of the Hawaiian Islands are under a high surf warning, and forecasters expect 25- to 30-foot waves, marking the start of Hawaii’s big-wave season. SAN LUIS OBISPO (CBS/AP) — Forecasters say very high tides and swell arriving from a Pacific storm will combine to bring the possibility of big surf and minor flooding of low-lying points along parts of the California coast.

The swells hitting both Hawaii and California are probably connected to the same low-pressure weather system in the Pacific Ocean, said Derek Wroe, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Chris Pierce of Seal Beach’s Marine Safety Department said as of 10 a.m. there was no flooding along the beach or in adjacent parking lots, businesses and homes.

Forecasters said the high tides were predicted to range up to 6.9 feet but observations showed they were exceeding that and could rise to near 7.5 feet. Officials on Hawaii’s Big Island closed six beaches because of dangerous surf conditions, and one beach on Maui was closed after waves flooded the parking lot. Wroe warned spectators to keep a distance from the waves because what seems safe could become deadly in a short time. “There’s a whole host of dangers that come with these waves,” he said. Coincidentally, work begun Monday to construct a sand berm about 10 to 15 feet tall and half mile long on the beach from Main Street to Dolphin Street in anticipation of high tide during winter months. “We are in good shape,” Pierce said. “With the heavy equipment and work we have done, it will take care of any issues that may occur from this event.” A coastal flood advisory is in effect along various beaches, authorities said, with Orange County’s advisory in effect until 9 p.m. On Oahu, a man believed to be in his 50s died late Tuesday when he and two other fishermen were apparently swept out to sea by a large wave, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The waves in Hawaii were expected to gradually decline throughout Wednesday, but another big swell was expected to build Thursday night and into Friday, Wroe said. A gale watch was in effect through Thursday night off the Channel Islands northwest of Los Angeles, with high wind gusts and 10- to 13-foot seas at times.

Seal Beach, which is prone to shoreline flooding, continued the weekslong process of building giant sand berms that protect beachfront property from winter storms. The berms were going up several weeks early because of the potential for El Nino-spawned storms, not this week’s event, said Joe Bailey, the city’s marine safety chief.

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