Weekly fireworks show canceled as hotels, researchers keep close eye on king tides


We’ve been warning you about the impact of king tides this week, and high water levels were apparent Thursday.

Hilton Hawaiian Village canceled its weekly Friday fireworks show. A spokeswoman said they feared the water would be too high, and would likely cover the beach where people gather to watch.

In front of Fort DeRussy, there’s normally plenty of room for beach chairs, but on Thursday, water washed up all the way to the wall and onto the rock path.

With a south shore swell expected to roll in Friday, researchers say conditions will get even worse, and hotels are already making preparations.

“I am surprised actually. This is higher than I thought, and so it makes me even more worried about tomorrow,” said Mark Merrifield with the University of Hawaii’s Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research. “This is high sea level on top of the tides, and so even with just that, without the waves, we’re getting all the way up to the wall here. Tomorrow we’re expecting the big swell, so the big swell and tomorrow’s high tides, we expect to see some pretty big impact.”

People who live or work in coastal and low-lying areas should be extra careful in the coming days.

The Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience is asking island residents to help document high water levels and related impacts through the Hawaii and Pacific Islands King Tides “Citizen Science” project by submitting photos online through the program’s smartphone app or website.

Click here for more information and to participate.

The following are the daily forecast tide levels and times for Honolulu, as provided by the National Weather Service. Be advised that observed tides are running higher than these values. Click here for neighbor island tide levels.

5/24 Wednesday 3:36 PM HST 2.3 feet
5/25 Thursday 4:21 PM HST 2.4 feet
5/26 Friday 5:07 PM HST 2.5 feet (south shore surf expected)
5/27 Saturday 5:56 PM HST 2.4 feet (south shore surf expected)
5/28 Sunday 6:47 PM HST 2.3 feet
5/29 Monday 7:40 PM HST 2.1 feet

Businesses in Mapunapuna are all too familiar with flooding in the area, and with king tides, the problem gets even worse.

With salt water in the mix, driving through those large pools of water can damage vehicles. Click here for more on the damage salt water can have on a vehicle.

The city installed what’s known as duck bill valves in 2011. They’re designed to push the water out to Keehi Lagoon to prevent flooding.

A spokesman says two were installed for $600,000, and they worked for a while, but business owners say in the past year, the problem has come back.

“There’s damage to our vehicles, damage to customers’ vehicles coming to us, damage to workers’ vehicles trying to leave the area. You’ll notice everybody tries to get out and you’ll see them turn around and go back the other way,” said Kalei Alau with U-Haul Hawaii.

There’s another problem. A drainage canal nearby also overflows, making the flooding worse. The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands wants to dredge the canal, but it’s been waiting at least three months to get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and there’s no telling how long it will take.

For area businesses, the frustration grows.

“Even we had a community meeting a while ago and the fixes weren’t, there was nothing that came out of it,” Alau said. “It was just like, ‘We’re trying different projects. We have engineers looking at it.’ Cool, but it doesn’t help us out right now.”

We’re still waiting to hear how the city plans to resolve the issue.

Water levels were high in Hilo as well. Miles Matsumura shared a before and after comparison of Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. The photos were taken at 1:52 p.m. (bottom photo) and 3:27 p.m. (top photo).

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