Wedding swamped by massive waves
A wedding in Hawaii has been derailed after massive waves sent tables and chairs crashing towards guests.
Wild weather that included waves over six-metres tall - attributed to high tides and rising sea levels associated with climate change - ravaged the island’s south shores over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
Sara Ackerman, one of the attendees at the wedding in Kailua-Kona, filmed the terrifying scene that happened about five minutes before the ceremony was due to start.
“I was filming it and then it just came over the wall and just completely annihilated all the tables and chairs,” she said.
“It wasn’t like a life-threatening situation by any means whatsoever. It was just like, ‘Oh my gosh … What are we going to do? Where are we going to put the tables?’”
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Despite the chaos, Ackerman said the ceremony went ahead and that they cleaned up the mess after the newlyweds exchanged vows.
“We had the ceremony and it was beautiful, having all the (sea) spray,” she said. “The ocean was really wild. So it was great for the photos.”
The weather wasn’t just ruining weddings, with waves crashing into homes and businesses, and spilling across highways, as reported by 9News.
Lifeguards and rescue crews across the state were occupied by the weather, conducting at least 1,960 rescues on the island of Oahu alone over two days.
One serious injury was reported by Honolulu officials, where a surfer suffered a laceration to the back of his head.
Chris Benchley, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service’s office in Honolulu, said waves of this size were incredibly rare.
“Waves over 12 or 15 feet (3.66 or 4.57 metres), those become extremely big and really rare to have," he said. “It’s the largest it’s been in several decades.”
He explained that the swell was produced in the South Pacific, which recently experienced a “particularly strong winter storm” with winds focused directly at Samoa and Hawaii.
Though it’s hard to pin the blame for this single weather event directly on climate change, Brenchley said it does play a role.
“The most direct type of impact that we can use with climate change is the sea level rise,” he said.
“Any time you add just even small amounts of water, you raise that sea level just a little bit. And now those impacts will be exacerbated whenever we have a large storm event or a ... high, high tide.”
“We had some waves that were reaching 20 feet (6 metres), 20 feet-plus even,” Brenchley added.
“That’s getting on the level of historic.”