High surf warning in effect for Big Island’s east shores

UPDATE 10:12 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9: Hilo Bayfront Highway between Waianuenue Avenue and Pauahi Street has been closed due to waves washing over roadway.

ORIGINAL STORY: The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a high surf warning for east-facing shores of Hawaii Island, Maui and Molokai until 6 a.m. Thursday.

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A high surf advisory is in effect for the north-facing shores of those islands.

A high surf warning means there is a threat to life and property. Surf heights are expected to be up to 20 feet along affected shorelines.

The surf is expected to build through the morning, peak in the afternoon and evening, then decline Thursday.

Expect ocean water occasionally sweeping across portions of beaches, very strong breaking waves and strong longshore and rip currents. Breaking waves may occasionally impact harbors making navigating the harbor channel dangerous.

Beachgoers and boaters should be especially cautious, as large, breaking surf, significant shore break, and dangerous currents make entering the water hazardous. Anyone entering the water could face significant injury or death.

Boaters should be aware of an increased number of surfers and body boarders utilizing the harbor channel to access surfing areas.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, Laupahoehoe boat ramp is closed.

Oceanfront residents and boat owners should take precautions to secure their property.

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Closures of beaches and roads may take place without notice.

This message will be updated as necessary.

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