Gov. David Ige, county mayors and emergency officials today urged all Hawaii residents, particularly those on Oahu and Kauai. to prepare for the impacts of Hurricane Douglas this afternoon and overnight.
As of 11 a.m. today, Hurricane Douglas continued to barrel towards Hawaii as a Category 1 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. Douglas at 11 a.m. was about 55 miles east-northeast of Kahului and 140 miles east of Honolulu.
National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist John Bravender said Douglas maintained its strength overnight, and that the west-northwest motion will take it very close to Oahu and Kauai, increasing winds across Oahu this afternoon, and across Kauai tonight.
Due to additional information provided by Hurricane Hunters flying into the storm, NWS adjusted its forecast closer to the isles Saturday night, he said.
Officials urged all Hawaii residents to take the threats seriously, and to be prepared, for direct as well as indirect impacts of the approaching hurricane.
“This is the closest approach that we’ve had for a hurricane probably at least in the last decade,” said Ige. “I encourage everyone to hunker down to be prepared for a hurricane force winds. As we’ve said in the past. we prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Certainly we are in the last couple of hours prior to the storm being at its closest approach. Clearly everyone on Oahu should be taking final preparations for Hurricane Douglas and everyone on Kauai should be looking to make final preparations as the storm will through Kauai a couple of hours later.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in his eight years, Oahu has fortunately not been hit by a hurricane.
“I hope people are now heeding that warning and taking final preparations,” he said. “This is a serious serious storm.”
In addition to strong winds, surge is expected to impact roads and homes close to the water. He urged Oahu residents to hunker down, and be ready to evacuate if necessary.
Honolulu released a map depicting the potential flooding that could be produced from storm surge during a tropical cyclone similar to Hurricane Douglas as a guide. People should determine whether they need to evacuate or not, and identify the shelter they think they need to evacuate to ahead of time.
Oahu’s 13 shelters opened at 9 a.m. this morning.
At last count, Caldwell said there were about 350 evacuees sheltering at Oahu’s shelters, including about 300 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Waikiki, 44 at Nanakuli, and a handful of others at the other shelters. He expects those numbers to increase later today.
Those going to shelters should bring face masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes with them, expect to undergo screening, temperature checks and maintain six feet of physical distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All state and county offices and beach parks will remain closed on Monday.
Gov. David Ige hosted a media briefing regarding Hurricane Douglas today.
Ige was joined by:
>> Mayor Mike Victorino, Maui County
>> Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City and County of Honolulu
>> Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, Kauai County
>> John Bravender, National Weather Service
>> Luke Meyers, administrator, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency
>> Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, Adjutant General
>> Veronica Verde, external affairs officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
>> Capt. Arex Avanni, U.S. Coast Guard
>> Jade Butay, director, State Dept. of Transportation
>> Scott Morishige, Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness
>> Scott Seu, president and CEO, Hawaiian Electric
>> Luke Bailey, Hawaii Gas General Manager for Maui
>> Maria Lutz, Director of Emergency Services, American Red Cross
Watch a replay of the press conference above, or visit Gov. Ige’s Facebook page.