One Drowning and Several Rescues Prompts Special Weather Statement for Maui

A Special Weather Statement was issued today, Wednesday, February 17, 2010, following a number of water rescues in Maui County. The Maui Police Department reported a drowning and several rescues resulting from adverse wind, wave and water conditions.

At 11:56 a.m., Lahaina Patrol Officers were aassigned to a possible ocean rescue as two people were observed yelling for help from the area known as Black Rock in West Maui.

When police arrived at the scene, the victim was being pulled out of the ocean. Attempts were made to resuscitate the victim at the scene, however, they were unsuccessful. The victim was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The victim was later identified as Daniel Barney, 54, of Spokane, Washington.

County officials are advising the public to be extremely cautious of ocean conditions for the remainder of the day.

Swimmers, surfers and other marine interests are advised to be mindful of their skill level and remain out of the water and well away from areas of potential danger.

Beach goers are also urged to stay out of the water and well away from the shore break due to hazardous wave action and strong rip currents.

The advisory states: If caught in a rip current, do not try to swim against the current. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current and then swim toward shore.

Warning Level Surf to Peak Late Wednesday

On the water, there is a high surf warning in effect for the north shores of Maui, and the north and west shores of Molokai until 6 p.m. Thursday, January 28, 2010.

A new large northwest swell is expected to peak late today or tonight, brining surf in the 25-35 foot range to the north shores.  West shores of Molokai will be slightly smaller at 15 to 20 feet.

Forecast surf heights are estimates of the height of the face or front of waves.

The National Weather Service says dangerous battering waves will pound the shoreline resulting in very dangerous swimming conditions and deadly rip currents.

Surf is expected to remain elevated through Thursday.

As a precautionary measure, beachgoers are urged to stay out of the water and well away from the shore break due to the hazardous wave action and strong rip currents.

NOAA Weather Broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025.   NOAA Weather Internet services can be found at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information courtesy the National Weather Service)