High winds, surf pummel Hawaiian islands
- Associated Press
- January 23, 2014 - 2:45 PM
HONOLULU — High winds and huge surf have been pummeling the Hawaiian islands this week, with gusts blowing off roofs, downing power lines and causing a tree limb to fall and kill a golfer visiting from Japan.
The 55-year-old golfer was struck in the head by a tree limb Wednesday at Leilehua Golf Course, an Army facility at Wahiawa, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://is.gd/0Zkq9b ). The course was closed until further notice, and the incident is being investigated, the Army said.
Also Wednesday, the largest swell in a decade arrived on Oahu, and water flooded the Haleiwa Boat Harbor's parking lot during the morning high tide.
Hunter Farr, a commercial fisherman, watched the flooding. He said water rose past his knees and came in surges as massive waves outside the jetty pushed water into the harbor.
"It was crazy," Farr said after returning to keep an eye on his boat during a second high tide Wednesday night. "I have never seen it like that before. That was the highest."
The surf should slowly subside Thursday but remain above warning levels. A groundwater advisory has been issued for the Kihei area and Honokahua Bay on Maui.
Meanwhile, high winds across the islands led to electrical outages and road closures.
On Tuesday, winds were clocked at 54 mph at Waianae Valley and 45 mph in Kahuku. Winds were howling at 80 mph to 100 mph Wednesday on island summits.
The Honolulu fire department received calls for blown roofs, fallen trees or branches, and downed power lines. Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig said most of the calls were in Pearl City and Aiea, and some calls came from Nanakuli and Wahiawa.
Under the barrage of high winds, Banzai Pipeline, famous for its surf tubes, was churning.
Lifeguards strung yellow tape on North Shore beaches between Haleiwa Alii Beach Park and Sunset Beach, with warnings for people to stay out of the water.
The Waimea Bay parking lot and a nearby grassy area were closed after surf began rolling in.
"When you see the outer reef break, it's something to behold and worth coming to take pictures," said Waialae resident Kimo Sutton, who took his camera to Ehukai Beach Park. "It's pretty nasty out there."
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