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Hawaii avoids direct hit from Douglas as hurricane warning for Kauai County is canceled

  • STAR-ADVERTISER VIDEO BY JAMM AQUINO AND CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / PHOTO@STARADVERTISER.COM

  • COURTESY CPHC
                                Monday’s 2 a.m. Hurricane Douglas forecast map shows the storm leaving the Hawaiian islands.

    COURTESY CPHC

    Monday’s 2 a.m. Hurricane Douglas forecast map shows the storm leaving the Hawaiian islands.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Large waves from Hurricane Douglas roll in toward the Kaiwi shoreline today.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Large waves from Hurricane Douglas roll in toward the Kaiwi shoreline today.

  • COURTESY NOAA
                                This enhanced satellite image shows Category 1 Hurricane Douglas moving just north of Windward Oahu late this afternoon. July 26, 2020

    COURTESY NOAA

    This enhanced satellite image shows Category 1 Hurricane Douglas moving just north of Windward Oahu late this afternoon. July 26, 2020

UPDATE: 2 a.m.

All islands managed to avoid Hurricane Douglas which is now moving quickly away from Kauai.

At 2 a.m., Douglas remained a strong Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, but was 60 miles north-northwest of Lihue.

The storm was moving 16 mph west-northwest away from Kauai, prompting the Central Pacific Hurricane Center to cancel a hurricane warning for Kauai County, which includes the islands of Kauai and Niihau.

A flash flood advisory for Kauai has been extended until 3:45 a.m. and may be extended longer if heavy rain persists.

Emergency shelters on Oahu opened in preparation for Douglas will begin to close at 7 a.m. Monday according to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Thirteen shelters were opened and at peak capacity, nearly 400 individuals took refuge in the city’s emergency shelters according to a press release.

UPDATE: 10:50 p.m.

A hurricane warning for Oahu has been canceled, but Hurricane Douglas intensified slightly as it headed west-northwest at 16 mph toward Kauai.

Hurricane Douglas increased its maximum sustained winds to 90 mph and is 50 miles northeast of Lihue as it projects to pass just north of the island according to the 11 p.m. update from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for the island of Kauai until 1 a.m. and may need to extend it if heavy rain persists.

A flash flood watch remains in effect for Kauai County through Monday afternoon.

The storm is now 100 miles northwest of Honolulu.

UPDATE: 8 p.m.

Hurricane Douglas continued its near-miss weekend trip past the Hawaiian islands tonight, leaving only Kauai in its potential path.

At 8 p.m., Douglas maintained its maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, and was moving west-northwest at 16 mph. This motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days.

The Category 1 hurricane’s center was 60 miles north of Honolulu and 85 miles east of Lihue, according to the 8 p.m. update from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more extend up to 40 miles from Douglas’ center and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extend up to 115 miles.

Douglas is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves near Kauai later tonight, forecasters said.

Robert Ballard of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said that Oahu and Maui County benefited from being on the weaker southern side of the massive storm.

Oahu and Kauai remain under a hurricane warning and the entire island chain is under a flash flood watch until Monday afternoon.

6:35 p.m.

Kauai County and the Hawaii Red Cross volunteers have opened four emergency shelters on Kauai as Hurricane Douglas continues on a path that could bring it dangerously close to the north side of the island overnight.

Red Cross officials said the shelters are recommended as a last resort, and that the public should shelter in-place at home, with family, or with a friend or neighbor if it is safe.

Evacuees must bring their own food and personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitizer. Pets must be in a pet carrier or cage for safety and owners must provide water and food for their pets, officials said.

The four sites are:

>> Kapaa Middle School, 4867 Olohena Road in Kapaa

>> Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, 4480 Papalina Road, Kalaheo

>> Kauai Community College, 3-1901 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue

>> Kilauea Neighborhood Center,2460 Keneke St., Kilauea.

Shelters in Maui County, meanwhile, have closed.

5 p.m.

Category 1 Douglas was moving just off Windward Oahu this afternoon in one of the closest encounters with a hurricane for the island in decades.

At 5 p.m., Douglas, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, was moving west-northwest at 16 mph and this motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days. Hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more extend up to 40 miles from Douglas’ center and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extend up to 115 miles.

Douglas was approximately 60 miles northeast of Honolulu and 90 miles northwest of Kahului.

The hurricane warning for Maui County has been canceled but is still in effect for Oahu and Kauai County.

Robert Ballard of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” live-stream show that this was the closest call he has seen for Oahu in 20 years here.

“I can’t even describe how close this is right now,” Ballard said in the 3 p.m. interview.

He stressed that forecasters continued to worry about a “jog to the left” that would bring dangerously closer to Oahu, but if the storm continues it’s west-northwest track, the island should be in the clear by tonight.

Kauai still must closely monitor the storm into the night, he said.

Ballard said Maui County, which escaped any significant damage, and Oahu were on the “somewhat weaker” southern side of the storm, which featured 95 mph when it was threatening the islands earlier this weekend.

Hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more extend up to 35 miles from Douglas’ center and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extend up to 115 miles. CPHC said at 5 p.m. that “on the forecast track, Douglas will pass near Oahu and Kauai tonight.”

2 p.m.

Hurricane Douglas, with 85 mph maximum sustained winds and higher gusts, was located about 50 miles north of Kahului and about 100 miles east of Honolulu, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. update.

A tropical storm warning for the Big Island has been canceled.

At 2 p.m., Douglas was moving west-northwest at 16 mph and this motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days.

“On the forecast track, Douglas will pass near, or over, the islands from Maui to Kauai through tonight,” forecasters said.

Hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more extend up to 35 miles from Douglas’ center and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extend up to 115 miles.

Oahu and Maui and Kauai counties are under a hurricane warning. A warning means hurricane conditions are expected in the next 36 hours. The entire island chain is under a flash flood watch until Monday afternoon.

UPDATE: 12:58 p.m.

The National Weather Service says a flood advisory for Maui will expire at 1 p.m. today. A flash flood watch remains in effect for the island.

UPDATE 11:39 a.m.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said during a press conference this morning that outdoor warning sirens were sounded on Oahu at 11 a.m. to give residents three hours notice of the arrival of Hurricane Douglas to the island.

The City will be sounding the warning sirens again at noon. Sirens will sound a steady tone for 3 minutes.

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.

Hawaii residents continue to await the arrival of Hurricane Douglas as the category 1 storm makes its final approach toward the state.

As of 11 a.m. today, Douglas was approximately 55 miles east-northeast of Kahului and 140 miles east of Honolulu with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

Douglas is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph, with this motion is expected to continue. Maximum sustained winds are near 85 mph with higher gusts and gradual weakening forecast during the next 48 hours, but the storm is still expected to remain a hurricane as it moves through the islands with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 35 miles.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe; Oahu; and Kauai County, including the islands of Kauai and Niihau.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Hawaii County and portions of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument from Nihoa to French Frigate Shoals.

UPDATE 10:05 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for the island of Maui until 1 p.m.

At about 10 a.m., radar indicated heavy rain near Paia, falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Locations in the advisory include but are not limited to Haliimaile, Pauwela, Kipahulu, Makawao, Paia, Haiku-Pauwela, Huelo, Kula, Pukalani, Nahiki, Kaupo and Hana.

Officials warn the public to stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low-lying areas prone to flooding,. Rainfall and runoff will also cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking actions.

Do not cross fast-flowing or rising water in your vehicle or by foot, officials warned.

The advisory may be extended beyond 1 p.m. if heavy rain persists.

A flash flood watch also remains in effect for all Hawaiian islands.

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UPDATE: 9:05 a.m.

Kauai County authorities have announced the Kauai Bus will suspend service early today due to Hurricane Douglas.

The final trips today for each route are as follows:

>> Route 200, Lihue to Kekaha: 9:20 a.m.

>> Route 500, Lihue to Hanalei: 9:30 a.m.

>> Route 100, Kekaha to Lihue: 10:15 a.m.

>> Route 30, Koloa Shuttle: 10:15 a.m.

>> Route 400, Hanalei to Lihue: 10:15 a.m.

>> Route 60, Kapahi Shuttle: 10:28 a.m.

>> Route 70, Lihue Shuttle: 10:55 a.m.

Call (808) 246-8110 or visit facebook.com/CountyofKauai for more information.

UPDATE: 8:27 a.m.

Hurricane Douglas continued to have 90 mph maximum sustained winds and higher gusts this morning, and was located about 90 miles east of Kahului and about 185 miles east of Honolulu, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Douglas was moving west-northwest at 16 mph and this motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days. Though some slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Douglas is expected to remain near hurricane intensity as it passes near or over the islands today and Monday.

Hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more extend up to 30 miles from Douglas’ center and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extend up to 105 miles.

Robert Ballard of the hurricane center said earlier this morning that Maui County will be be seeing tropical storm conditions and possible hurricane conditions through late Sunday and possibly early Monday; Honolulu will see the same starting this early afternoon through early Monday; and Kauai starting in early evening possibly into Tuesday.

Oahu and Maui and Kauai counties are under a hurricane warning. A warning means hurricane conditions are expected in the next 36 hours. Hawaii County is under a tropical storm warning. The entire island chain is under a flash flood watch until Monday afternoon.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Hurricane Douglas began moving dangerously close to the Hawaii overnight as a Category 1 storm that is expected to bring flooding rains, damaging winds and life-threatening surf to the islands today and Monday.

Before dawn today, Douglas still had 90 mph winds and located 145 miles east of Kahului and 235 miles east of Honolulu, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update.

Douglas was moving west-northwest at 16 mph and this motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days. Though some slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Douglas is expected to remain near hurricane intensity as it passes near or over the islands today and Monday.

Hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more extend up to 30 miles from Douglas’ center and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extend up to 105 miles.

Maui County is now under a hurricane warning, which also remains in effect for Oahu and Kauai. A warning means hurricane conditions are expected in the next 36 hours.

A hurricane watch for Hawaii County has been canceled, but a tropical storm warning remains for that island. The entire island chain is under a flash flood watch until Monday afternoon.

“Douglas will pass dangerously close to, or over, the islands today, bringing a triple threat of hazards, including but not limited to damaging winds, flooding rainfall, and dangerously high surf, especially along east and north facing shores,” officials said.

The hurricane center warns of Douglas’s threat of winds, surf, heavy rains, and storm surge. Specifically, they said:

>> Hurricane-force wind conditions are expected in portions of Maui County today, on Oahu by this afternoon, and on Kauai and Niihau tonight. Tropical Storm conditions are imminent across the Big Island. Due to the steep terrain of the islands, hurricane-force wind gusts are possible even within the tropical storm warning area.

>> Large swells generated by Douglas will affect the Hawaiian islands into Monday, producing life-threatening and potentially destructive surf along exposed shores.

>> The combination of higher than predicted water levels, dangerous storm surge, and large breaking waves will raise water levels by as much as 3 feet above normal tides near the center of Douglas.

>> Heavy rainfall associated with Douglas is expected to affect portions of the main Hawaiian Islands from early this morning into Monday. Total rain accumulations of 5 to 10 inches are possible from Maui County westward to Kauai County, with the greatest amounts up to 15 inches in elevated terrain. This rain may result in life-threatening flash flooding and land slides, as well as rapid water level rises on small streams. Douglas could produce an additional 2 to 4 inches of rainfall over the northern half of the Big Island.

Hawaiian Electric Co. warned its customers throughout the state of possible power outages and the public is warned to stay away from downed power lines.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Saturday announced the opening 13 evacuation centers at 9 a.m. today, including the Hawaii Convention Center, which Caldwell said could accommodate 1,600 people even with COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions.

But Caldwell and Gov. David Ige urged everyone to shelter in place if possible, as the safest option.

Unless sheltering in place or staying with friends or family are not possible, Caldwell called the city’s shelters “the last option.” People checking into a shelter will need a mask or face covering, have to undergo a temperature screen and comply with social- distancing requirements, he said.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said the county would open seven shelters by 7 a.m. today.

TheBus is scheduled to curtail Oahu service at noon today and is expected to resume service at 6 a.m. Monday. City officials encouraged bus riders to stay home and limit travel only to essential trips.

The city also posted a website with information and advice on sheltering and maps of areas that may see some storm surge.

Hawaiian Airlines canceled all mainland and neighbor island flights scheduled for today and many events have been canceled and attractions closed in anticipation of Douglas’ arrival.

Honolulu lifeguards, meanwhile, warned people to stay out of the ocean and even away from the shoreline.

“Please don’t risk your life and the life of our first responders,” Shayne Enright, spokeswoman for the city’s Emergency Services Department, said in a statement. “If necessary, please stay home. Even the act of taking pictures along the shoreline can be extremely dangerous in times of large waves and high winds.”

Today’s forecast was aided by the “Hurricane Hunters” from the Air Force 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron spent which made five passes through the center of Douglas, the CPHC said.

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