and The Maui News
The first hurricane of the eastern Pacific season formed far from land Wednesday and was expected to become a major hurricane by today.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Douglas was centered about 1,570 miles east-southeast of Hilo as of 5 p.m. Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, crossing into the Category 2 range.
It was moving to the west at 17 mph. That track would carry it toward Hawaii on Sunday or Monday, but forecasters said it was likely to weaken back to a tropical depression by that point.
John Bravender of the National Weather Service in Honolulu said during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon that it was too early to predict specific impacts for each island but that there was a chance for heavy rainfall and flash flooding over portions of the state.
“The last couple tropical threats we’ve had to the islands were very slow approaches, giving us a long time to prepare — several, many days,” he said. “Douglas is moving fast now, 17 mph, and the forecast has it moving about 17, 18, maybe 19 (mph) over the coming days.”
Bravender said that now is the time for residents to prepare around the house, to top off on gas and to make sure their preparedness kits are equipped with 14 days of food, water and medicine.
“Also think about other supplies you might not have from past year’s kits –hand sanitizers, face masks, items like that that would be important this year,” he said.
Maui County Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya said that due to COVID-19 restrictions, the county has limited shelter space and needs more American Red Cross volunteers. To volunteer, contact Disaster Program Manager Jenny Worth at email@example.com or 264-8785.
To sign up for updates from the county’s Maka’ala Emergency Alert system, visit mauicounty.gov/emergency.