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Hawaii Braces For ‘Triple Threat’ Of Hurricane Douglas Press "Enter" to skip to content

Hawaii Braces for ‘Triple Threat’ of Hurricane Douglas

Officials in Hawaii on Sunday prepared for the arrival of Douglas, a hurricane that was downgraded to a Category 1 but still packed maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.

Hurricane warnings were in effect for the counties that include the islands of Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory on Sunday morning.

Hurricane conditions were expected in those areas within the next 24 hours, according to the center.

“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,” the center said on Sunday.

A hurricane watch for the county that includes the island of Hawaii was changed to a tropical storm warning. As of Sunday morning, the storm was 145 miles east of Kahului and moving west-northwest at 16 m.p.h. Douglas was expected to remain a hurricane as it moved through the islands later on Sunday.

Thirteen shelters were opening on Sunday in Honolulu, including the Hawaii Convention Center, which can hold 1,600 people, with social distancing, Honolulu’s mayor, Kirk Caldwell, said at a news conference on Saturday.

Officials have warned that space at the shelters may be constricted because of social distancing policies. Gov. David Ige of Hawaii said the authorities would monitor capacity at the shelters and open more if necessary.

The American Red Cross has about 300 volunteers to help run the shelters, and those volunteers will be given personal protective equipment. It has been a challenge to recruit volunteers because of the coronavirus pandemic, said Maria Lutz, the director of regional services for the Hawaii Red Cross.

In Honolulu, city workers were being asked to volunteer to help in the shelters, the mayor said.

“We do understand the concern of these city workers,” Mr. Caldwell said, “and we’re asking them as city servants to help with the need at this time.”

In a statement on Sunday morning, the hurricane center emphasized that residents should not focus on the exact forecast track or intensity of Douglas.

“Due to Douglas’s angle of approach to the islands, any wobble in the track could lead to significant differences in where the worst weather occurs,” the center said. “Even if the center remains offshore, severe impacts could still be realized over the islands, as they extend well away from the center.”

Mr. Ige on Thursday issued a pre-landfall emergency proclamation that authorized state funds for quick disaster relief.

“We don’t just focus on the wind,” Mr. Feltgen said on Friday about the storm. “You have to look at the water impacts on this thing as well. Very heavy rainfall.”

Marie Fazio and Christina Morales contributed reporting.

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