Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas

Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
Surfers take on large waves generated by Hurricane Douglas at Laie Beach Park, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Laie, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Hawaii avoided a direct hit Monday from Hurricane Douglas and the Category 1 storm was swirling just north of the island chain.

The Central Pacific Warning Center lifted the for the island of Kauai, the final remaining hurricane warning in place for the nation's only island state. There were no initial reports of injuries and what damage there was appeared to be minor.

The storm tracked just north of the islands, and officials said it appeared to pass about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Maui and possibly closer to Oahu.

"Not only did it did it not make landfall, it skirted by the islands," National Weather Service meteorologist Chevy Chevalier.

It's rare for hurricanes to hit the islands and their compared to the vastness of the Pacific Ocean plays a role.

"The islands are so small," Chevalier said. "You're not going to see them get hit that often."

The hurricane's "fell apart" with Oahu not receiving much rainfall, he said. Kauai was under a flood advisory because the island received heavier rain.

Douglas gained some strength as it spun past Hawaii and headed west-northwest into the Pacific Ocean at 16 mph (26 kph).

Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
An Oahu resident packing his surfboard on his bike rides through a deserted Waikiki on Kalakaua Ave., Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Honolulu. Most of Oahu residents are taking shelter preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Douglas. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Early Monday, Douglas was 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Lihue, Kauai. It had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph), keeping it as a Category 1 hurricane.

On Sunday, heavy rain and wind lashed Maui, downing a on the Hana Highway.

As the storm moved west across the island chain from Maui, gentle rain fell and blustery winds swayed trees on Oahu, home to the state's biggest city, Honolulu. Sand and debris washed ashore on a two-lane coastal road.

Despite the dangers, surfers rode waves and residents took selfies at a lookout point next to the ocean.

National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Lau said Douglas would have been a lot worse if it had tracked 20 or 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) to the south.

"We were really playing with a really fine line, a razor thin line between what we've experienced today compared to what we could have experienced," he said.

Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
The Keo family assisted the Aubrey family with sandbagging for the preparation of Hurricane Douglas in Hauula, Hawaii, on Sunday, July 26, 2020. Pictured from left-right are, is Keonaona Keo, 17, Aaron Keo, Malu Keo, Amy Aubrey, and Hiwa Keo, 12. (Cindy Ellen Russell/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

Duke Stevens, who lives in Hana on Maui's eastern tip, said there was no longer any wind by Sunday afternoon and the light rain that fell persistently through the night had subsided.

"I've seen a lot worse," said Stevens, who has lived on Maui since 1987.

Antonia Hall, from the city of of Kihei where on western Maui, said the storm avoided her area after she brought her porch furniture inside, bought nonperishable food and filled her bathtub for an emergency water supply

"Maui has skirted so many hurricanes," she said. "This is just kind of something we go through here."

About 300 people on Oahu island evacuated to the Hawaii Convention Center on the edge of Waikiki while about 22 people on Maui stayed at five shelters around the island.

Evacuees were told to bring masks and hand sanitizer along with the usual emergency supplies of food and water. People had to wear face coverings to be admitted and while staying in the shelters except when eating, drinking or sleeping.

  • Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
    A police officer with the Honolulu Police Department inspects the sand and debris washed onto a closed portion of Kamehameha Highway, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Kaaawa, Hawaii. High surf caused by Hurricane Douglas washed the debris onto the highway. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
  • Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
    An Oahu resident purchases plywood at the local City Mill hardware store to cover up the windows of his home, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Honolulu. Oahu residents are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Douglas. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
  • Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
    Evacuees wait to be screened prior to entry into the Hawai'i Convention Center—an American Red Cross shelter set up in advance of Hurricane Douglas, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
  • Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
    The local City Mill hardware store still has propane gas in stock, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Honolulu. Oahu residents are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Douglas. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
  • Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
    Chris Gomes, left, and John Gomes, right, fill sand bags in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Douglas in the town of Kailua, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Honolulu. Residents on Oahu are getting ready for the arrival and hunkering down are the storm approaches the island. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
  • Hawaiian Islands avoid direct hit from Hurricane Douglas
    High surf breaks on Oahu's Windward coast as seen from the Makapuu Lookout, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Honolulu. The high winds and big surf are being generated by Hurricane Douglas. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

State health department officials contacted each of the 625 people who were currently in isolation or quarantine as of Friday because they were either COVID-19 positive or had been in contact with someone who is. All said they would shelter-in-place and not seek refuge at a hurricane shelter.

Hawaii has some of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the nation, but COVID-19 numbers have gone up in recent weeks.

President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Hawaii because of the , directing federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts.

Hawaiian Airlines canceled all Sunday flights between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland and also between the .

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Portions of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument from Nihoa to French Frigate Shoals to Maro Reef.


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Hurricane Douglas gains strength; skirts the state of Hawaii

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