Darby weakens, county closes beach parks due to high surf

  • Darby is expected pass about 200 miles south of Hawaii Island. (GOES-West/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Hawaii County has closed beach parks along south-facing shores of Hawaii Island for the weekend ahead of high surf and rough ocean conditions prompted by a south swell and former Hurricane Darby.

The swell was expected to hit shores Friday evening and strengthen through Saturday. Waves are expected to be between 15 feet to 20 feet at their peak and hold through Sunday.

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The county will reassess the conditions on Sunday, however, depending on wave heights and debris from the swell parks may remain closed until Monday.

The following parks are closed: Isaac Hale in Puna; Punaluu and Whittington/Honuapo in Ka‘u; Miloii, Hookena, Manini Point/Napoopoo, Honuanau Boat Ramp, Kahaluu, Magic Sands/Laaloa, Pahoehoe, Honls, Hale Halawai and Old Kona Airport. The state also closed Hapuna State Recreation Area, Kua Bay, and Kekaha Kai.

“We’re asking residents, particularly our surfers, boaters, and ocean gatherers, to exercise extreme caution along southern shores this weekend,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “The swells accompanied by the remnants of Hurricane Darby may cause unpredictable ocean conditions that could lead to serious harm. We don’t want to lose any of our loved ones and ask that folks don’t go out when in doubt.”

Tropical Storm Darby is forecast to move south of the Big Island on Saturday as either a tropical storm or remant.

Maximum sustained winds were near 60 mph with higher gusts Friday afternoon as the storm tracked east-southeast some 505 miles east-southeast of Hilo. The storm was expected to continue to weaken and be downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Saturday.

Darby is expected pass about 200 miles south of Hawaii Island, however, it could produce localized storm total rainfall of up to 2 to 4 inches for windward areas. These rains may cause nuisance flooding especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas, forecasters said.

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