UPDATED: 10:45 p.m.
Hurricane Douglas is entering the Central Pacific tonight and is projected to be near the Hawaiian islands late Saturday and Sunday.
The Category 4 hurricane is about 1,010 miles east-southeast of Hilo with maximum sustained winds at 130 mph. Douglas is currently moving towards the west-northwest at 18 mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next few days with a gradual decrease in forward speed and a slight turn toward the west.
The National Hurricane Center said gradual weakening is expected to begin on Friday and continue through the weekend but Douglas is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it approaches the state.
Swells generated by Douglas are expected to begin affecting portions of the state on Saturday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu warns of a “triple threat” this weekend as Hurricane Douglas intensified to a Category 4 storm on a path that will bring it near or over the Hawaiian islands.
The storm strengthened slightly with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to a 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Douglas is located 1,125 miles east-southeast of Hilo and is moving west-northwest at 18 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extend up to 30 miles from the center while tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 90 miles.
“Gradual weakening expected to begin on Friday and continue through the weekend. Douglas is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it approaches the Hawaiian islands,” the hurricane center said.
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The current track has Douglas as a Category 1 hurricane early Sunday as it moves close to the Big Island and Maui, then weakening to a still-strong tropical storm as it nears Oahu and Kauai. The fast-moving storm is seen moving west of the main islands by Monday afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service in Honolulu, “The potentially close passage of this hurricane brings a triple threat of hazards to the state, including but not limited to damaging winds, flooding rainfall, and dangerously rough seas that could result in damaging surf, especially along east facing shores. Watches could be required for portions of the state Friday, with impacts potentially beginning as early as Saturday night.”
Gov. David Ige issued a “pre-landfall emergency proclamation” today as Hawaii prepares for possible impacts from Hurricane Douglas. Meanwhile, city officials urged Oahu residents to prepare for the coming storm.
“It is still too early to determine where impacts may be greatest, so everyone in the state of Hawaii needs to take time to prepare now,” forecasters said. “Review and execute your family emergency preparedness plan and remember that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency recommends that you have a 14 day supply of food, water, and medicine for you and your ohana.”
Swells generated by Douglas are expected to begin affecting portions of Hawaii Saturday,” NWS said. “These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
UPDATE: 10:45 a.m.
Hurricane Douglas strengthened slightly as it continues on track toward the central Pacific and Hawaii.
At 11 a.m. today, Douglas was located about 1,235 miles east-southeast of Hilo while packing sustained winds of 125 mph and moving west-northwest at 18 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
“Little change in strength is expected today, with gradual weakening expected to begin on Friday and continue through the weekend,” the center said.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles.
Douglas maintained its strength overnight as a Category 3 storm and could possibly get even stronger today.
At 5 a.m. today, Douglas was located about 1,335 miles east-southeast of Hilo and packing maximum sustained winds of 120 mph while moving west-northwest at 20 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Douglas is expected to continue on its current track for the next few days with a gradual increase in forward speed and a slight turn toward the west.
“Douglas is expected to move near or over portions of the Hawaiian Islands this weekend, and there is an increasing chance that strong winds, dangerous surf, and heavy rainfall could affect portions of the state beginning on Sunday,” the center said. “Interests on the Hawaiian Islands should continue to monitor the progress of Douglas and the official forecasts as they evolve over the next few days.”
The National Weather Service said it is too early to tell which islands will be impacted by Douglas.
However, forecasters said to expect increasing chances of flash flooding and strong winds across portions of the state as early as Saturday night, and advised getting ready with a 14-day supply kit of food, water and medicine.
For today, breezy trades are expected to build back across the state from east to west, and to last through Saturday, as a trough moves west of the state.
Today’s forecast is mostly sunny, with scattered afternoon showers and highs from 88 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Tonight is expected to be mostly cloudy and breezy, with likely showers and lows from 71 to 76 degrees.
East winds of 15 to 20 mph during the day increase up to 25 mph at night.
Surf remains low today, at 1 to 3 feet along north and west shores, 2 to 4 feet along south facing shores, and 3 to 5 feet along east shores, through Friday. Surf along east shores may rise significantly, possibly to warning levels, over the weekend as Hurricane Douglas moves into the area.
A record daily maximum rainfall of 0.82 inches, meanwhile, was set at Lihue on Wednesday, surpassing the previous one of 0.66 inches set in 1997.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles.