Earlier this morning on July 24, the National Weather Service (NWS) provided an update on the current status and trajectory of Hurricane Douglas.
“Currently at 11 a.m., the center of Hurricane Douglas is located about 785 miles east southeast of Hilo and 985 miles east southeast of Honolulu,” Christ Brenchley of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) of the NWS said in a press conference this morning.
As of July 24, there has been a hurricane watch issued for Hawai‘i island and Maui County, including the islands of Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i and Kaho‘olawe.
The areas under hurricane watch will most likely experience hurricane conditions within the next 3 to 4 days.
“Those who are within the watch should continue their preparations and plan on getting those completed as soon as possible. Interests elsewhere in the Hawaiian islands, outside of the watch area, should continue to monitor the progress of the system as the track continues to show possibilities of all of the Hawaiian islands being impacted by the effects from Hurricane Douglas,” Brenchley said.
The maximum sustained winds are at 115 miles per hour, making Hurricane Douglas a Category 3 hurricane. It is heading west northwest and 18 miles per hour and is expected to continue in this direction for the next two days.
After the two-day period, Douglas is expected to slow its forward speed and turn slightly west. Douglas is expected to be at the Hawaiian islands on Sunday the 26 and will continue through Monday the 27.
Douglas is expected to weaken throughout the weekend.
“It is important to keep in mind that Douglas is still expected to be hurricane strength as it nears the Hawaiian islands,” Brenchley said.
Hurricane impacts to be prepared for include strong winds with the potential to damage, high surf conditions, heavy rainfalls and flash floods. In addition, mudslides and debris flows could result from the rainfalls and flash flooding.
“It is a serious storm and one we need to continue to monitor. There is a bit of uncertainty continuing in the forecast, and really where that track goes will have a big effect on the impacts that we see on the islands,” Brenchley said.
The earliest time that hurricane impacts could be experienced would be on late Saturday night on Hawai‘i island. From there, Douglas will move westward across the archipelago by Sunday.
Although Douglas will be moving over colder waters this weekend, Brenchley said that it will give the hurricane no extra strength. Passing over northern waters will allow the hurricane to potentially weaken over the next few days, but will not dissipate the storm completely.
“We still have the potential for impacts of either a tropical storm or a hurricane,”Brenchley said.
Douglas may be the first hurricane to encroach on the islands from the east. However, it is important for every part of the islands to prepare for the potential impacts.
It is uncertain whether Douglas is on a northern or southern trajectory. A southern trajectory would entail stronger impacts on the islands than a northern one.
Currently the U.S. Air Force Reserves, the hurricane hunters, are en route and are expected to begin reconnaissance on the center and periphery of Douglas as early as this evening.