Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 |
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Hurricane Douglas continued its march toward the Hawaiian Islands on Friday. ( NOAA GOES-17/Special to West Hawaii Today)
A hurricane watch has been issued for Hawaii, Maui and Oahu counties ahead of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Douglas.
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions will be possible within 36 to 48 hours, according to Chris Brenchley, director at NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. The current forecast track shows all of the Hawaiian Islands being impacted by the storm.
“Therefore those who are within the watch should continue their preparations and plan on getting those completed as soon as possible,” he advised Friday morning.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, the fast-moving Category 3 hurricane was located 665 miles east-southeast of Hilo and circulating 115 mph winds as it tracked west-northwest at 20 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 105 miles.
Gradual weakening is forecast through Saturday, however, Douglas will remain at or near hurricane strength as it approaches the Big Island.
Forecasters cautioned that hurricane conditions are possible on the Big Island late Saturday night and Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Saturday evening. Hurricane conditions are possible over Maui county Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible beginning late Saturday night.
Large swells generated by Douglas are expected to begin affecting portions of the Hawaiian Islands on Saturday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions for a couple of days.
Heavy rainfall associated with Douglas is expected to affect portions of the Hawaiian Islands from late Saturday night through Monday. Total rain accumulations of 6 to 10 inches with isolated maximum totals of 15 inches are possible, especially in higher terrain.
“This rain may result in life-threatening flash flooding and land slides,” forecasters cautioned.
The U.S. Air Force 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, also known as the Hurricane Hunters, based out of Mississippi is scheduled to fly through the storm this evening to center-point the location of the storm and provide other information, including intensity and width of the storm.
“We do expect as that information gets to flow in this evening that we’ll have a slightly better confidence in what the prediction, what the output from the models might be. that can give us some additional confidence in our forecast and the widespread amount of impacts we can expect,” said Brenchley, cautioning residents to remain vigilant and to prepare as if all areas will be impacted.
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