Monster waves crash over condos in Hawaii amid ‘historic’ swell

Monster waves pounded the south-facing shores of the Hawaii Islands over the weekend amid a surge that the National Weather Service called “historic.” Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, which closed multiple state beach parks along south-facing shores, said it was the largest swell in over a decade with waves up to 24 feet. 

The Honolulu Advertiser reported that there were thousands of ocean rescues over the weekend. 

The dangerous waves were the result of Hurricane Darby that had weakened into a tropical cyclone by the time it reached Hawaii. Big waves are forecast to persist into Monday with some low-lying areas of the islands likely to be inundated by water, the weather service said. 

Water crashed over the rooftops of condo complexes in Keauhou on Hawaii Island on Saturday. 

“The current and waves got really big around 4 to 5 p.m. and didn’t calm down until around 10:45 p.m.,” Isabella Sloan told Hawaii News Now. “My condo was hit the first time and flooded everything. Condos down the way from mine were completely wiped out and damaged really badly. Thankfully, everyone is safe.”

Also on Hawaii Island, a wave rolled through a wedding reception at Hulihe’e Palace in Kailua-Kona on Saturday. The dance floor was destroyed but the cake survived and the wedding party and guests were not injured. 

“And we were kind of right at the moment where we were going to start moving a couple things and, yeah, this big wall basically just showed up,” the groom Dillon Murphy told KHON. “And luckily there was no food in any of the containers, the cake luckily made it.”

The large swell is expected to slowly subside through Wednesday, the weather service said. 

“Short period choppy surf will remain somewhat elevated over the next several days due to the trade winds over and upwind of the state,” the weather service said. “Some longer period energy from Tropical Cyclone Estelle in the far eastern Pacific may affect east facing shores Thursday night through Saturday. No other significant swells are expected.”

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