Watergoers being urged to exercise caution amid high surf, rough seas

It’s been cold and wet, and the seas and surf have been high these last several days.

Baldwin Beach Park in Paia was closed Thursday after high surf flooded the park overnight, the county said. The park gates were locked, and county workers will be evaluating the situation today.

At its peak, the surf was 20 to 25 feet along north-facing shores and 10 to 15 feet along east-facing shores on Maui and Molokai, according to the National Weather Service. Those faces were expected to diminish through early this morning to 12 to 18 feet along north-facing shores and to 5 to 8 feet along east-facing shores.

A high-surf warning remains in effect for north- and east-facing shores of Maui and Molokai until 6 p.m. today. The surf will create dangerous shoreline and swimming conditions, the National Weather Service said.

The heavy weather and rough seas prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a public warning to mariners through today.

With the high surf and small-craft advisory for coastal waters, the Coast Guard urged mariners to:

* Stay informed. Boaters should be aware of weather conditions and monitor the progress and strength of the storm through television, radio and the Internet; check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out; and remember that weather conditions can change quickly.

* Wear life jackets while on the water.

* File a float plan with friends, family members and local marinas before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers aboard the vessel, vessel destination and expected time of return.

* Always have a working radio aboard.

* Carry marine flares aboard.

* Ensure bilge pumps are operational and that vessels are secure for heavy winds and rain.

It was cold across the state Tuesday and Wednesday.

A record low temperature of 58 degrees was set at Kahului Airport on Tuesday. The chill broke the old record for the day of 60 degrees, set in 1993.

The low temperature record also was broken in Lihue on Tuesday. The 62 degrees broke the old record of 63 degrees, also set in 1993.

Record lows were logged for Honolulu and Lihue on Wednesday. At Honolulu International Airport, a low of 64 degrees was recorded, breaking the old record for the day of 65 degrees set in 1950. At Lihue Airport, a low of 61 degrees was logged; that matched the record low for the day also set in 1950.

A flash flood watch for Maui County that was to lapse at 6 a.m. today was canceled Thursday night.

In the 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m. Thursday, a Kula rain gauge took in 1.2 inches of rain and a gauge in Ulupalakua logged 0.75 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Kahului Airport reported 0.84 inches, and Kaupo had 0.71 inches.

The forecast for Maui County today is partly cloudy with scattered showers in windward areas and isolated showers leeward. Highs will be 81 to 86 degrees and lows from 67 to 72 degrees. Winds will be from the east about 15 mph.