WAILUKU - Big storms out in the north Pacific mean one thing to those with wave-riding in their blood: Surf's up, dude.
The National Weather Service high-surf warning that was in effect Wednesday was expected to come down this morning as waves diminish, but Glenn James, senior weather analyst at the Pacific Disaster Center in Kihei, said more high surf is coming this weekend and into next week.
The high surf is expected to hit the islands in three-day intervals, he said.
"Every three days or so, it will come up, diminish a little and come back up," James said. "Surfers will be busy on the north shore."
On Oahu's North Shore, surf was breaking with 20- to 30-foot wave faces Wednesday, he said. At Hookipa, observers reported waves of about 16 feet, and James said he guessed that the "Jaws" surf spot in Peahi would have been somewhat larger than that.
"We're getting into that season, what I would consider late autumn heading towards winter; that's typically our big surf season in Maui County," he said.
James said he expected today's surf to be smaller than Wednesday's but still higher than normal. For safety's sake, he recommended that only experienced watermen and
-women venture into the high surf on Maui's north shore.
"It's a good place to not go in if you're not experienced," he said. But he added that today's surf still should provide good photo opportunities for those on shore.
Maui's south and west shorelines should be nearly flat, providing good "user-friendly" opportunities for swimming and diving, James said.
This weekend and next week, more high-surf episodes are expected, he said, with the surf coming out of the northwest.
As for weather in general, the islands are in a well-established trade wind pattern, he said, with locally strong and gusty winds coming out of the east or east-northeast at 15 to 30 mph. Areas exposed to stronger winds, such as Maalaea or Kaupo, might get stronger gusts.
Windward areas can expect showers, and leeward regions dry and sunny conditions, he said.
* Brian Perry can be reached at email@example.com.