The Waves That Hit Hawaii's South Shores Were Historic

Strong south swell led to 20-foot waves
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2022 4:45 PM CDT

"The highest south shore surf in more than 25 years delivered as predicted," the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources wrote on Facebook Sunday night. The agency had predicted waves measuring 15 to 20 feet would hit the south shores of each island over the weekend due to a strong south swell that would peak Saturday night. In its post, the agency confirmed that one DLNR officer estimated a wave off Oahu's Diamond Head had measured 25 feet tall, reports USA Today.

The National Weather Service on Monday said the swell was produced in the South Pacific, where it's winter right now. "They had a particularly strong winter storm where the winds were focused directly towards places like Samoa and then further on to the north into Hawaii," said NWS meteorologist Chris Brenchley. Hawaii’s north shores, where professional surfers often compete, usually get much larger waves than other parts of the islands. The predominant swell hits the north shores in the winter and the south shores in the summer. Most large summer swells that come from the south are no bigger than about 10 feet.

One wild wave was captured on video as it crashed onto a wedding reception Saturday night in Kailua-Kona just minutes before the ceremony was to take place. Wedding guest Sara Ackerman filmed to scene. "It just was huge," she tells the AP. "I was filming it and then it just came over the wall and just completely annihilated all the tables and chairs." She notes it wasn't a life-threatening situation, and that the mess was simply dealt with after the vows were exchanged. (More Hawaii stories.)

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