Douglas approaches Hawai‘i

LIHU‘E — The National Weather Service issued a tropical-storm warning for Kaua‘i County at 5 p.m. via teleconference Saturday.

Hurricane Douglas, which continues its north-northwest trajectory, is 530 miles east-southeast of Lihu‘e and is moving at 16 miles per hour.

NWS forecasters predict potential winds between 50 and 65 miles per hour, and gusts could be from 95 to 100 MPH.

“Douglas is going to pass very close to Maui and Kaua‘i, and there is some chance of hitting landfall close to the island as it moves up the chain,” said Robert Ballard, science and operations officer of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

“This hurricane will be dangerously close to the islands.”

Douglas is projected to continue to weaken, but will still be damaging, Ballard said.

Forecasters say the tropical storm may bring damaging winds, heavy rainfall and high surf to parts of the state over the weekend and possibly into Monday, with some impacts being experienced as early as tonight across Maui and Hawai‘i Island.

A tropical-storm warning means that tropical-storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

County of Kaua‘i officials urged residents and visitors to remain vigilant and stay informed.

“We are concerned as it approaches because it is going to be destructive,” Ballard said. “It could go right over the island or pass a little north. We have our fingers crossed, but right now I am not confident of that.”

As the system moves closer, the NWS predicts the surf could significantly impact Kaua‘i, with the north seeing the most affect.

NWS forecasters are predicting Kaua‘i will get five to 10 inches of rain, and could see heavy landslides.

Kaua‘i is currently under a flash-flood warning, and is predicted to have intense rainfall along the windward slopes. The east and north shores could face flash flooding as the storm approaches.

Emergency protective measures fall under a certain category where public assistance is concerned, and could prove to be a critical resource for recovery, providing up to 75% federal funding for direct federal assistance and reimbursement of eligible expenditures.

“This emergency declaration will expedite public assistance from FEMA and accelerate the reimbursement process in the aftermath of Douglas,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami in a county-issued press release.

The NWS stated hurricanes create their own weather systems. The three main concerns are destructive winds, intense rainfall and surf, and the surge combinations they can form.

“It’s not going to be exact weather, but it is going to worsen as the system moves in, and by Sunday night it’s going to be pretty sketchy,” Ballard said. “People should be expecting pretty bad weather by Sunday night.”

Red Cross shelters are north, south, east and west

American Red Cross disaster shelters are being established around the island in the event residents and visitors feel compelled to evacuate from their dwellings or lodging due to Hurricane Douglas:

Central

• Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

• Kaua‘i Community College

• Kaua‘i High School

• Kaua‘i Humane Society (pets only)

• Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall

• King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School

• Wilcox Elementary School

Eastside

• Kapa‘a Elementary School

• Kapa‘a High School

• Kapa‘a Middle School

North Shore

• Kilauea School

• Kilauea Neighborhood Center

South Side

• ‘Ele‘ele School

• Kalaheo School

• Koloa School

West

• Waimea Canyon Middle School

• Waimea High School

•••

Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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