County closes a few beach parks ahead of storm

The Maui News

All South Maui parks as well as Baldwin and Kanaha beach parks will be closed today due to the possibility of a severe winter storm impacting the state, county officials said.

Heavy winds of 40 to 60 mph and 40- to 60-foot surf are expected to hit coastal areas of Maui County, particularly along Molokai and the northern and southern shores of Maui, into this evening.

Weather forecasters anticipated that powerful gusts of wind may down trees, power lines or even blow over vehicles, Mayor Michael Victorino said Saturday afternoon.

Residents and visitors are being advised to stay indoors today or postpone outside plans, including trips to the beach or parks, county officials said. People should also secure loose outdoor belongings, such as potted plants or furniture that may blow away in the wind.

County spokesman Christopher Sugidono said Saturday afternoon that the county may close West Maui parks, including Papalaua Wayside Park, if weather intensifies.

A high-surf warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Monday. A deepening low-pressure system approaching from the north will continue to produce large waves and the potential for coastal flooding and erosion, the National Weather Service said.

A high-wind watch is in effect through late tonight.

Maui Emergency Management Agency held a video teleconference Saturday with the National Weather Service and other counties for the latest forecasts of the severe weather this weekend. Officials from various county, state and federal departments and nongovernmental organizations were present, including Haleakala National Park, Maui Electric Co., state Department of Transportation and American Red Cross.

The public can stay up to date with the latest information by signing up for Maui Emergency Management Agency’s alert program called Maka’ala. To register and learn more information about emergency preparedness, visit mauicounty.gov/emergency.