Maui News

Maui Beach Parks Closed Ahead of Giant Surf

March 17, 2019, 12:02 PM HST
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Maui County will keep Papalaua Wayside Park closed today and not reopen beach parks on north- and west-facing shores on Monday until safety conditions have been assessed from shoreline exposure to strong, high surf.

“We are taking this action as a precaution in the interest of public safety,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “Forecasters predict very high surf on north- and west-facing shores, and we are concerned about a combination of high surf and high tide. So, I urge everyone to exercise caution, especially in areas prone to coastal flooding.”

Papalaua, a Maui County campground off Honoapiilani Highway, was closed today as previously announced, said Department of Parks and Recreation Director Karla Peters. People with camping permits were informed of the closure on Friday.

West Maui parks from Papalaua to D.T. Fleming Beach Park will not open Monday until a safety assessment has been completed, and park officials are confident there are no storm-related hazards, she said. Other beach parks subject to closure and safety assessments Monday include Baldwin, Hookipa, Lower Paia, Kanaha, Waihee and Waiehu beach parks.

On Monday, parks staff will inspect beach parks for possible flooding, structural damage and other high surf impacts that could affect public safety.

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On Friday, Maui County emergency management officials received a video-conference briefing from the National Weather Service about an approaching weather system expected to generate extremely high surf out of the northwest and north-northwest. Surf was forecast to build rapidly this morning and peak this evening and tonight. A combination of large surf, strong winds and high tides is expected to produce over-wash in coastal areas and on highways near the ocean today through Monday. The most vulnerable time frame is expected to be during high tide tonight.

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Beach erosion also can be expected, along with strong harbor surges that could damage boats and infrastructure along north- and west-facing coastlines and harbors.

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