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Swell Builds Today, XXL Swell Fills in Overnight

January 20, 2015, 12:06 AM HST
* Updated January 20, 9:42 AM
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Alerts

A Marine Weather Statement has been issued by the National Weather Service for a very large west-northwest swell. The Weather Service in Honolulu says a rapidly building swell will arrive tonight and remain elevated into Thursday. They are warning of strong harbor surges and large breaking waves at harbor entrances exposed to the swell. One location that could expect such conditions is Honokohau harbor.

A High Surf Warning has been issued for the west side of the Big Island. The warning goes into effect this evening at 6:00 p.m. and is posted through Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Wave heights of 15 to 20 foot faces are expected. Expect ocean water occasionally sweeping across portions of beaches, very strong breaking waves and strong longshore and rip currents. Breaking waves may occasionally impact harbors making navigating the harbor channel difficult. Large breaking surf, significant shore break and dangerous currents will make entering the water very hazardous. Boaters should be aware of an increased number of surfers in the water.

A Small Craft Advisory has been issued for all island waters from 6:00 p.m. tonight through 6:00 p.m. Thursday for southwest winds from 10 to 20 knots and rough seas of 8 to 18 feet.

**Click directly on the images below to make them larger. Charts include: Big Island projected winds, tides, swell direction & period and expected wave heights.**

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Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.07.46 PMBig Island Surf Forecast, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hilo side: Surf heights are expected waist to chest high. The best breaks open to the swell could see larger waves on the sets. Breaks open to the northwest swell could see wave heights up to waist high as well.

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Kona side: Surf heights are forecasted from knee to waist high with some plusses.

South: Southerly spots are knee to waist high today. Exposures open to the east-southeast trade swell could see waves in the knee to chest high range.

Another west-northwest / north-west will fill in today (Tuesday).

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.07.52 PMModels are predicting a much larger west-northwest swell, producing surf well above warning levels. This XXL swell is forecasted to begin filling in overnight Tuesday and peak on Wednesday night. If it behaves as models are indicating, it would be the largest swell thus far this season. The swell is partially blocked by other islands but the Kona side should still see significant swell up to possibly triple overhead at the best breaks at the peak. Hilo coast gets some wrap and could see up to double overhead waves at the best breaks on the sets. Swell will fade through Thursday and Friday.

A reinforcement is expected to move in Friday and begin to fade out on Sunday. Pending development we could see another solid west-northwest swell setting up for Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Small south-southwest brings knee to possibly waist high waves at the best breaks.

Keep in mind, surf heights are measured on the face of the wave from trough to crest. Heights vary from beach to beach, and at the same beach, from break to break.  

**Click here for your detailed Big Island weather report.**

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

Image: NOAA / NWS

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