Tracking Hurricane Douglas in Honolulu: Monday, July 27, 2020
The final hurricane warning in the state expired early Monday morning as Hurricane Douglas took a northern path, narrowly skirting the islands and sparing them from the worst weather.
Hurricane Douglas on Sunday, July 26 at 8:53 a.m.
ImageS: Courtesy of NOAA
Update Monday, July 27
It was still a Category 1 hurricane as it passed the islands, but Hurricane Douglas’ northerly path spared Hawai‘i the worst of the weather. The National Weather Service allowed all hurricane watches and warnings to expire at 2:25 a.m. Monday, July 27, but did note there was still a possibility of flash flooding on Kaua‘i. At 5 a.m., the center of the storm was passing 95 miles northwest of Lihue.
Hurricane Douglas is the first named storm of the 2020 hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast a near- or below-normal season, predicting two to six tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific from June through November, because average ocean temperatures are expected. It is also not an El Niño year, which usually increases activity. A near-normal season has four or five tropical cyclones.
NOAA scientists caution there is still a 25% chance of an above-normal season, so people should keep their hurricane preparedness kits stocked.
Update Sunday, July 26:
Sirens and emergency alerts sounded across O‘ahu at 11 a.m. to warn folks across the island to rush final preparations now for potential flooding, damaging winds and storm surge as well as to check emergency kits and be ready to shelter in place as Hurricane Douglas gets closer.
The message from government officials across the state is get ready for heavy rains, extreme winds, potential flooding, to stay home and off the roads. The impact of heavy rains and wind just before noon was being felt by Maui and expected to impact Moloka‘i next. In a briefing with Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino and Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami, along with representatives from various agencies including FEMA and the Dept. of Transportation, all reminded residents to try to shelter at home or with friends and relatives, but to also know where the nearest shelter is should they need to evacuate.
“This is a serious, serious storm,” Caldwell stressed. Although the Category 1 hurricane currently is looking like it will pass north of the islands, forecasters emphasized that the path may shift and wobble and the hurricane has not weakened—as previous storms have in recent years— and the hurricane has the power to inflict significant damage.
- Shelters: On O‘ahu, there are 13 shelters open with 350 people staying there as of noon Sunday: 300 people at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, 44 in Nānākuli and a few others scattered across the island. For a full list of shelters, what to take as far as pandemic preparations, pets and supplies, go to oneoahu.org.
- Storm surge: A storm surge of about 3 inches is expected to have the most impact and potentially flood coastal areas when high tide comes at 8:45 p.m. Noting that will be after nightfall, Caldwell says the city prepared a map showing which areas will likely be affected so people can prepare during the day.
- Weather warnings: Robert Ballard, science and operations officer for Honolulu’s National Weather Service office, provided the 11 a.m. update which still predicts rain of 5 to 10 inches in the next 12 hours, sustained winds of 85 mph with gusts of up to 105 mph and even more rain, up to 15 inches of rain in mountain areas. “This one is uncomfortably and dangerously close,” Ballard says. “We’ve got to keep a close eye on the storm for the next 6 to 12 hours.” Ballard emphasized that the hurricane also could cause unexpected damage since the winds are predicted to come both from the more common north/northwest direction but also from the south.
- How to prep: Officials reminded residents to secure any items that could blow away; protect windows with boards or tape, have water and food on hand to cover everyone in your household for three days. Prepare for possible power outages: test flashlights; charge any mobile phones, battery backups, tablets or laptops and your emergency radio; have gas in your vehicles and cash on hand.
- Closed: Beach parks closed. Non-emergency government offices on Maui, O‘ahu and Kaua‘i will be closed Monday, including state Department of Education, University of Hawai‘i and state Judiciary operations on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i. Here are the Places Closing in Honolulu Ahead of Hurricane Douglas.
Update Saturday, July 25:
As of Saturday evening, July 25 the National Weather Service in Honolulu says Douglas remains a category 1 hurricane and the current track puts O‘ahu facing a hurricane warning with forecasters tracking the storm’s sustained winds of 90 mph.
In a media briefing at 5 p.m., Chris Brenchley, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center urged residents to rush any remaining storm preparations and expect heavy rains and strong winds within the next 24 hours across the island chain. Although forecasters downgraded the severity of the alert for the Big Island and Maui to a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch, Brenchley noted that with Douglas moving west-northwest, 340 miles east of Hilo, the Big Island will begin to feel the storm tonight, Maui County by early Sunday and O‘ahu could begin to feel the impact of the storm by tomorrow midday. As of 5 p.m., Douglas was 430 miles east-southeast of Honolulu.
Hurricane Douglas on Sunday, July 26 at 5:51 a.m.
He says the uncertainty of the path of the storm means the islands should expect significant rain and wind. “Douglas is still forecast to be near hurricane strength when it passes near the islands,” Brenchley says.
Current conditions mean that Maui, O‘ahu and Kaua‘i could see 5 to 10 inches of rain in the coming day and that heavy rain could result in life-threatening flash-flooding and landslides. For the Big Island, Douglas could produce 2 to 5 inches of rainfall over the northern half.
Brenchley also recalled that in 2014, Iselle went from hurricane to tropical storm, then made landfalls on the Big Island and caused significant damage on the Ka‘u Coast. Economic loss created by the storm was estimated between $148 million and $325 million.
He also said the storm is expect to bring large swells with wave heights of over 15 feet on east-facing shores and potential storm surges that can cause flooding in coastal areas.
The next update from the center will be at 5 a.m.