Douglas Maintains Strength Overnight as Major Category 3 Hurricane (Update: 5 a.m. 7.23.20)
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Douglas Moves Quickly WNW as a Category 3 Hurricane, 120 mph Winds
Douglas maintained its Category 3 hurricane status overnight, carrying maximum sustained winds near 120 mph.
The system is expected to move near or over portions of the Hawaiian Islands this weekend, and the National Hurricane Center says there is an increasing chance that strong winds, dangerous surf, and heavy rainfall could affect portions of the state beginning on Sunday.
At 5 a.m. HST, the eye of the system was located 1335 miles ESE of Hilo, Hawaiʻi (near latitude 13.6 North, longitude 135.9 West); and the hurricane picked up speed overnight, traveling toward the WNW near 20 mph.
The National Hurricane Center says this motion is expected to continue for the next few days with a gradual decrease in forward speed and a slight turn toward the west.
Forecasters say some strengthening is possible today before a gradual weakening starts on Friday and continues through the weekend.
The latest advisory notes that Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles.
The National Hurricane Center says, “Interests on the Hawaiian Islands should continue to monitor the progress of Douglas and the official forecasts as they evolve over the next few days.”
John Bravender, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service and Central Pacific Hurricane Center says with the system’s ESE approach, damages or impacts could occur on any of the islands.
“It could hit Maui… it could hit Big Island. It could hit any part of the state. That’s why we want everybody across the state to prepare as if they would be impacted from it,” he said.
In terms of terrain, heavy rain and flash flooding could be accentuated by the geography of the islands.
“The heaviest rain will fall inland by higher amounts and that heavy rain could also potentially cause landslides or debris flows that could become damaging as well,” according to Bravender.
He suggested ways to prepare now, ahead of potential impacts that could occur beginning Sunday into Monday.
“Have a disaster plan. What are you going to do, where will you go. Things to consider are: Are you in a flood plain; Are you susceptible to fresh water flooding; or are you in a coastal inundation plain. How strong is your house–is it single wall construction that doesn’t have hurricane clips or tie downs–you might want to consider staying with a friend with a more robust house. These are the things that you want to do ahead of time so that once a hurricane like Douglas approaches, you’re not scrambling to make these sorts of decisions,” said Bravender.