Weekend Surf: Large Swell and Gusty Winds
By Meteorologist Malika Dudley / Email: [email protected]
- The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory in effect from noon today through Sunday at 6 p.m. Northeast winds from 20 to 40 mph with gusts up to 50 mph are expected. The strongest winds in Maui County are expected in the lee of mauka areas, across much of Lānaʻi and through the Central Valley from Wailuku to Maʻalaea harbor. Winds this strong can bring down tree branches and make driving difficult.
- The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning posted through 6 p.m. Sunday for the north and west shores of Moloka’i and the north shore of Maui. This warning replaces the advisory that was previously in place. 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 difficult. Large breaking surf, significant shore break and dangerous currents will make entering the water very hazardous. Boaters should be aware of an increased number of surfers in the water.
- A Small Craft Advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service from 6 a.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Monday for all Maui County waters and channels. Rough seas of 11 to 20 feet are forecasted along with winds of 25 to 35 knots or more. Inexperienced mariners should avoid navigating in these conditions.
- The National Weather Service has issued a Gale Warning for Maʻalaea Bay and the Pailolo and ʻAlenuihāhā channels. The warning is in effect through Monday at 6 p.m. Beginning this morning, east winds of 30 to 35 knots are expected with higher gusts. Rough seas of 13 to 21 feet are also forecasted. The largest waves are expected to begin tonight after midnight. A Gale Warning means that these winds are imminent or occurring. Operating a vessel in gale conditions requires proper experience and equipment. Mariners without these things should remain in port until gale conditions end.
**Click directly on the images below to make them larger. Charts include: Maui County projected winds, forecasted swell direction, height & period, tides, a surface map and expected wave heights.**
North: New west-northwest builds Saturday into the 2 -3x overhead range for best exposures, especially late in the day. Outer reefs could see up to 20+ foot faces by sunset.
West: Spots open to the swell wrap are expected to get waves in the head high range early in the day but fading. New swell is heavily shadowed for the west side of Maui. West side of Moloka’i is forecasted to get 12 to 16 foot faces. Otherwise, breaks that don’t catch the swell, and / or are shadowed from it, are forecasted to get smaller surf at ankle high or flat.
South: Many areas will remain flat today.
A series of swells are expected over the weekend and into next week as well. A possible warning level swell out of the west-northwest is expected to build today. This swell is forecasted to peak Sunday. Again, most spots will be closing out at the peak, but the outer reefs that can handle the swell may get up to 30+ foot faces early in the day. On Monday the swell will begin to slowly ease and shift out of the north.
Another set of northwest swells are expected for the second half of next week with yet another large northwest swell due for next weekend. All dependent on how the storms actually end up developing. Will keep an eye on it.
An out of season south swell is expected Sunday into Monday. We could see a fun little boost up to head high at the best breaks.
Keep in mind, surf heights are measured on the face of the wave from trough to crest. Heights vary from beach to beach, and at the same beach, from break to break.