Maui News

Hawai‘i Winter Storm Breaks Wave Height Records

February 28, 2019, 11:40 AM HST
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Rough ocean conditions along the North Shore of Oʻahu during the storm. Credit: DLNR
Winter Storm in Hawaiʻi

A strong low pressure system with an exceptionally close approach to the Hawaiian Islands chain caused record-breaking wave heights on Feb. 10, 2019, according to the Pacific Island Ocean Observing System (PacOOS) newsletter.

The PacIOOS wave buoy off Hanalei, Kauaʻi, measured 38 feet in significant wave height and the largest wave recorded measured stunning 63 feet.

The Waimea wave buoy also broke its 15-year record and climbed to a significant wave height of 29 feet, and the largest wave measured 48 feet.

Both buoys are located approximately 4 miles offshore and moored in a depth of 200 to 240 meters.

The combination of strong winds and high waves produced extremely rough ocean conditions at sea and along the shoreline.


PacIOOS’ suite of coastal forecasts, including the Wave Run-up Forecast for the North Shore of Oʻahu and the Haleʻiwa Harbor Surge Forecast, provided valuable information for agencies, the boating community, and homeowners to better understand what to expect and to prepare for the storm system.


Wave forecasts for Maui County can be found online.

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