High Surf Advisory


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8-12++ foot
8-12 foot
1-3 foot
4-6+ foot

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Advisory for Maui’s north shores effective through 6pm Sunday evening. The swell is expected to rise through the evening into Sunday and the advisory may need to be upgraded to a warning. The north shores will come alive as another west-northwest to northwest swell arrives and builds to above advisory levels today. A fun-sized south swell is expected to arrive overnight to slowly fill in Sunday along select south facing shores. Some west facing shores could see larger than normal surf if you know where to look. The bad news is that strong winds howling over the islands will produce poor conditions at many breaks, and some areas could have gusts approaching 50 mph. This also means that we’ll see rising windswell along the windward shores, which also may trigger a high surf advisory. A strong low pressure cell packing hurricane-force winds developed east of Japan last Wednesday and pushed a captured fetch out of the west-northwest and in our direction. The system tracked rather quickly toward the east-northeast while the fetch spread out, reaching just within 1000 miles from the islands and this close proximity will produce larger surf. This swell will fill in from a wide directional spectrum which should result in surf breaking at most north shore locations. Although the long-range models do show a little activity over the next week, nothing significant is modeled at the moment. A couple of fast moving systems may produce minor swells arriving around Tuesday and Friday. The models do show potential for a strong winter storm developing east of Japan around the middle of next week which could produce a significant swell for later next weekend, but it’s a little too early to discuss yet. The South Pacific may send another fun-sized south swell for next weekend but we shouldn’t expect much.

Today’s Surf Summary

North and northwest facing shores will start off at well overhead levels Saturday and will build into the 8-12++ foot range throughout the day, potentially reaching 20 foot later in the day, especially on the outer reefs. Upper West shores will also start off at overhead levels and should build to 8-12 foot later in the day. Windswell along the east and northeast facing shores will mix with wrapping northwest swell to offer surf in the 4-6+ foot range. South facing shores will likely stay around 1-3 foot today but should rise to chest-high levels Sunday.

Hawaii Wave Height Model

Hawaii Swell Period Model
Hawaii Swell Height Model

Wind and Tide Information

High tide at Kahului was 1.9 foot at 6:54 AM early this morning, dropping to a low of 0.7 foot at 2:46 PM early this afternoon, then rising to a high of 1.1 foot at 8:41 PM early this evening, before once again dropping to a of foot at just after midnight

The sunrise was at 06:53 am this morning and will set at 05:48 pm this evening. The Moon is currently 21 days old, and is in a Last Quarter phase. The next Waning Crescent will occur at 1:36 AM on Monday, December 22nd.

Moderately breezy northeasterly winds will increase throughout the day, beginning around 10-20 mph but then climbing into the 25-30 mph range later in the day. Some areas could even see gusts approaching 50 mph. The elevated wind speeds should persist throughout the upcoming week although a shift to a more easterly direction is likely.

Hawaii Wind Report

Maui Weather

Wind: NE at 15 mph
Sunrise: 6:57 AM
Sunset: 5:49 PM
current observations as of 8pm December 18th, 2014

Weather Outlook for Saturday

The remnants of an old front will push south of the Big Island this morning. Another front will move across Kauai from the northwest later today, then gradually dissipate while drifting south across the remainder of the state tonight through Monday. A large surface high behind the front will bring strong trade winds across the state from this afternoon through the rest of the weekend, with increasing rainfall across windward as well as some leeward areas. A large northwest swell combined with the strong trades will create very rough seas through the weekend.

Dry conditions prevail across most of the state early on this Saturday morning. The exception continues to be across the windward coast of the Big Island, where numerous showers and areas of light rain continue along the remnant cloud band of a dissipated frontal boundary. Surface analysis depicts a weakening cold front about 70 miles NNW of Kauai, with a weakened pressure gradient over the main Hawaiian islands at the moment due to the presence of the front to the northwest and north of the state. A 1030 mb high centered near 35°N 173°W is building eastward behind the front. Dry and stable conditions prevail aloft, with the state along the northwest periphery of a mid level ridge centered a couple hundred miles southeast of the Big Island. The 12Z Hilo sounding continued to reflect the deeper moisture present in that area along the remnant cloud band, with the inversion up above 8000 feet and pwat of 1.56 inches. Meanwhile the 12Z Lihue sounding found a lower inversion based near 5000 feet and pwat of 1.08 inches. Mimic-tpw satellite imagery depicts a narrow ribbon of somewhat elevated moisture along the approaching front to our northwest, and lingering elevated moisture near and south of the Big Island. Otherwise a generally dry airmass prevails over the region with deep tropical moisture suppressed far to the south of the state.

The front initially to our northwest will continue pushing southeast, reaching Kauai today, and then weakening to a remnant cloud/moisture band while continuing to drift southward through the remainder of the state tonight and Sunday. High pressure building to our north will cause trade winds to increase considerably across the state today and tonight. Model soundings and high- resolution WRF model plan view output show low level winds increasing above 30 knots across many areas from late this afternoon through tonight and into Sunday. Mid level ridging over the region should maintain a relatively low and strong inversion during most of this time. A lower/stronger inversion would help to enhance the strong trade winds, especially over favored leeward areas where winds will accelerate downslope. Have issued a wind advisory for many areas of the state from this afternoon through Sunday. Winds may reach warning levels at a few locations tonight into Sunday, but confidence in this is too low to issue a high wind warning or watch at this time.

Otherwise, the increasing trades will squeeze out available low level moisture against the terrain from today through the weekend. Dry/stable conditions aloft should prevent heavy downpours, but persistent lighter rains in the favored windward terrain could generate some decent longer-term rainfall totals. The strength of the trades will carry showers and areas of light rain/drizzle over into some lee areas as well, especially those just to the lee of the higher terrain. A developing upper level trough near 170°W will generate abundant high cloudiness over the region tonight through Sunday night, and would expect a cloudy day for most areas on Sunday.

The surface high passing to our north will maintain strong/gusty trade winds through Monday, then the trades will gradually decrease Tuesday through Wednesday as the high weakens and shifts further to the east. Expect a typical windward shower regime to prevail. The next cold front should pass north of the state with little effect around midweek, then a new weaker high passing to our north should maintain moderate to locally breezy trades through next Friday.

Central Valley (Kahului, Spreckelsville):

HIGH SURF ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM HST SUNDAY | WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 6 PM HST SUNDAY. Sunny, windy. Highs around 82. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph.

Leeward West (Lahaina, Ka`anapali):

WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 6 PM HST SUNDAY. Sunny. Isolated showers in the morning. Windy. Highs around 80. Northeast winds 15 to 25 mph increasing to 30 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20 percent.

Windward West (Wailuku, Waiehu):

HIGH SURF ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM HST SUNDAY | WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 6 PM HST SUNDAY. Mostly sunny. Scattered showers in the morning, then isolated showers in the afternoon. Windy. Highs 67 to 81. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph in the late morning and afternoon. Chance of rain 50 percent.

Windard Haleakala (Hana, Haiku, Makawao):

HIGH SURF ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM HST SUNDAY. Mostly sunny. Isolated showers in the morning, then scattered showers in the afternoon. Windy. Highs around 79 at the shore to around 65 at 5000 feet. East winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph increasing to 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 50 percent.

Leeward Haleakala (Kihei, Wailea, Makena):

Mostly clear. Breezy. Lows around 66 at the shore to around 49 at 5000 feet. East winds 10 to 15 mph increasing to 10 to 25 mph early in the morning. Gusts up to 55 mph.

Haleakala Summit

Mostly clear with isolated showers. Very windy. Lows 48 to 53. Northeast winds 20 to 35 mph shifting to the east 30 to 40 mph early in the morning. Gusts up to 55 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

Photo of the Day

Surf Photo of the Day - December 13th, 2014

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