Sci-tech

Hurricane Douglas: Hawaii prepares for high winds, rain and storm surge

Hurricane Douglas: Hawaii prepares for high winds, rain and storm surge”

Douglas has rapidly intensified into a Category 3 hurricane on Thursday with wind speeds of 120 miles per hour.

Douglas will slowly weaken as it tracks west-northwest, but it is forecast to remain a hurricane as it makes its closest approach to Hawaii.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 km from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 km.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Maui County, and the Hurricane Watch for Hawaiʻi island has been cancelled. More than 41% of the island's homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm. A Flash Flood Watch and a High Surf Warning are also in effect.

There are other key weather features, like wind shear and dry air, that meteorologists look for to either steer storms away from Hawaii or weaken them dramatically before they reach the white sandy beaches of Honolulu.

Douglas is a relatively small storm, but its expected proximity to the islands means they all will be affected.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for O'ahu, Kaua'i County (including the islands of Kaua'i and Ni'ihau), and Maui County (including the islands of Maui, Lana'i, Moloka'i, and Kaho'olawe).

Meanwhile, forecasters said Douglas is more likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions for several days.

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Yet in one sense it is ill-prepared for the storms because so many of Hawaii's single-family homes are older structures built before building codes were changed in the 1990s to take account of hurricane hazards. Rainfall accumulations could be 5 to 10 inches with locally higher amounts to 15 inches. Tropical storm Gonzalo is forecasted to bring heavy rain and potentially life-threatening flash flooding to the southern Windward Islands on July 25. For more information and updates, visit https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/alerts/travel-waiver-for-hurricane-douglas. Northern parts of the island could see wind gusts around 80 miles per hour, along with torrential rainfall and unsafe flash flooding.

The National Weather Service on Saturday issued a hurricane warning for the island of Oahu, where the state's largest city, Honolulu, is located. Hurricane conditions, which are winds 74mph or greater, are possible in parts of Maui, Oahu and Kauai through Sunday night. "A Flash Flood Watch is now in effect for all Hawaiian Islands through Monday".

The next update from the center will be at 5 a.m. The initial intensity was maintained at 80 kt based on these valuable data points.

The northern islands will likewise see the bulk of the rains.

Wind swath forecast for Douglas from the European weather model.

RAINFALL: Heavy rainfall associated with Douglas is expected to affect portions of the main Hawaiian Islands from early this morning into Monday.

Officials on Maui planned to sound hurricane warning sirens Sunday morning alerting residents to shelter in place or take refuge at one of seven shelters set up around the island. The updated forecast track is very close to the previous forecast and the high-performing ECMWF guidance, and anticipates some acceleration toward the west in the later periods as the increasingly shallow system gets steered by the low-level trade wind flow.

"Douglas has been upgraded to a 65-kt hurricane, the first of the 2020 eastern Pacific season", according to the hurricane center.

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