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Big surf closes Baldwin, Hookipa parking lot Thursday

Big surf that could reach 35 feet Thursday has flooded and closed Baldwin Beach Park in Paia and the west parking lot at Hookipa Beach Park, the county Department of Parks and Recreation said Thursday morning.

Baldwin park is closed until further notice and may remain closed Friday, following results of early morning assessments, the parks department said. The park will reopen when cleared and safe for the public.

The same holds true for the west parking lot at Hookipa.

The rest of the park remains open, though the public is urged to exercise extreme caution due to high surf conditions, the parks department said.

A high surf warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for north-facing shores of Maui and Molokai and west-facing shores of Molokai.

Waves are expected to reach 25 to 35 feet along north shores of Maui and Molokai on Thursday, lowering to 20 to 30 feet Thursday night. For west-facing shores of Molokai, waves should reach 15 to 25 feet, declining to 14 to 20 feet at night.

A large northwest swell peaked Thursday morning and was expected to subside in the evening through Saturday.

Beach-goers should beware of strong breaking waves sweeping across shorelines. Strong longshore and rip currents make entering the ocean very hazardous, the National Weather Service said.

For more information about park closures, contact the parks department at 572-8122.