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Hawaiian Island Bracing for Powerful, Tall Waves

By: KGMB/CBS
By: KGMB/CBS

Hawaii is bracing for super-sized surf that the state hasn't seen in decades, with waves possibly coming in at 40-to-50 foot faces. The incoming swell is significant because of the height and duration. The waves may come in at 20 plus feet every 20 seconds and stay that way for 2 days.

The waves weren't as good today as they were yesterday, but the focus is on tomorrow when the National Weather Service expects the waves to peak at 40 - 50 foot faces.

It is expected to be the biggest and most dangerous surf of the season if not the decade.

"The waves are big, powerful and most positively deadly. The weight behind these waves can easily break bones and kill you and drown you," said Mike Cantin, National Weather Service.

That said lifeguards will start their shifts early Wednesday in vulnerable areas.

Today the Office of Emergency Management is warning coastal residents from Mokuleia to Sunset of the dangers.

"We could see more coastal erosion in areas that were affected in past events. We could also see some road closures from sand, debris and water on the highways themselves," said John Cummings III, Department of Emergency Management PIO.

There is a positive. The swell is arriving when the tides are at the lowest point in a month which should help.

However the swell stands out because its tall and long. Not only is it expected to peak between 40-50 feet overnight going into Wednesday, but the duration is long. A 20 plus foot wave could come in every 20 seconds for more than 48 hours.

"Don't go in the water on the Leeward and North Shore sides. The waves will be too big even for professional surfers and swimmers," said Cummings.

"It could be the difference between life and death. You may be on rocks and think you are safe and that bigger wave set knocks you off and you're gone," said Cantin.


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