Gargantuan 2-story waves cause chaos along southern Hawaii coastline

Gargantuan 2-story waves cause chaos along southern Hawaii coastline
·3 min read

A historic south swell impacting Hawaii has spawned massive waves along the island state's southern shores over the weekend, with the massive swells crashing a wedding party and breaking over two-story apartments.

According to the National Weather Service, south-facing shores were at risk of experiencing waves that could crest at heights of 15 to 22 feet through Monday. The large waves can make it dangerous to head to the beach or sail on the ocean and can also lead to coastal flooding in low-lying areas.

Coastal flooding was evident at the Keauhou Kona Surf & Racquet Club in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where video shot Saturday showed torrents of water crashing over the tops of seaside condos, flooding the nearby streets as passersby gawked at the sight.

According to Hawaii News Now, several condos were damaged by the waves, including the residence of Isabella Sloan, who filmed the gargantuan waves.

"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," Sloan said.

Nearby, a wedding party in Kona was crashed by the invading ocean, taking out beautifully arranged flowers, tables and chairs. A series of large waves tore through the venue, but no one was injured.

According to Hawaii News Now, the waves also took out one of the bars set up at the wedding site, but somehow spared the happy couple's wedding cake and their other food.

"We didn't think that [the waves were] ever going to get over the wall," groom Dillion Murphy said.

The large waves impacting Hawaii's southern shores were generated by Tropical Rainstorm Darby, which passed well to the south of Hawaii. The storm weakened into a tropical storm and then a rainstorm over cooler waters of the Central Pacific after it had peaked as Category 4 hurricane over the East Pacific. Still, the storm was able to churn up the seas, spawning dangerous waves on the southern shores of Hawaii.


Have the app? Unlock AccuWeather Alerts™ with Premium+

"Even though Darby was weakening significantly as it passed by well to the south of the islands, the swells it had already generated continued to propagate out outward from the old center," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

The swells pushed toward Hawaii, creating dangerous ocean conditions that were expected to last at least through Monday night. According to tweets from the Maui County Fire Department, the large swells caused the state to close at least one state park for safety reasons and forced officials to make at least 19 ocean rescues.

High surf warnings remained in effect for the southern coasts of nearly all of Hawaii's islands Monday.

Want next-level safety, ad-free? Unlock advanced, hyperlocal severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app. AccuWeather Alerts are prompted by our expert meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safer.