HONOLULU, Hawaii (AFP) — Hawaii hunkered down for Hurricane ‘Douglas’ on Sunday, 26 July, as the storm neared the Pacific archipelago, after the year’s first Atlantic hurricane lashed Texas.
The Category One hurricane was packing winds of up to 140 km/h as it came close to the state’s most populous island, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
It was around 95 kilometers north of capital Honolulu at 7 p.m., the center said.
It is rare for severe storms to make landfall in Hawaii. Should ‘Douglas’ do so, it will be only the third in modern history after Hurricane Dot in 1959 and Hurricane Iniki in 1992.
Maui county lifted its hurricane warning after skies began clearing over the island by mid-afternoon, and the island’s mayor Mike Victorino said there were no reports of serious damage.
But hurricane warnings were still in effect further west for Kauai county, as well as Oahu — the island home to Honolulu, a city of just under 350,000.
“Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Douglas is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves through the islands,” the National Hurricane Center said earlier Sunday.
The NHC said the storm was expected to bring life-threatening and potentially destructive surf and rainfall of up to 15 inches on higher terrain.