Hawaii Braces for Hurricane Douglas

Hurricane Douglas passes by Maui on a westward track, July 26 (NASA / Terra)

Published Jul 26, 2020 10:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

Residents of Oahu and Kaui braced Sunday for the arrival of Hurricane Douglas, which passed north of the Big Island and Maui on a westerly track. The Category 1 storm's track shows potential for making landfall, a rare occurrence in Hawaii. 

In advance of the storm, the U.S. Navy sortied all moveable vessels out of Pearl Harbor. "We have been carefully tracking this storm, and based on the current track, we have decided to begin plans to sortie," said Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick, commander of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, in a statement Saturday. "This allows the ships enough time to transit safely out of the path of the storm."

Sortied ships will remain at sea until the threat from the storm subsides. Hawaii-based Navy aircraft have been secured in hangars or flown to other airfields to avoid the effects of the hurricane.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii, located on the northeastern side of Oahu, is more likely to experience the effects of the hurricane. A forecast issued by the County of Honolulu predicted the most serious storm surge  flooding effects from Hurricane Douglas would occur in the vicinity of Kaneohe Bay, including the outlying western and southern portions of the base. In an update Sunday, the base's command warned that it expected destructive winds within 12 hours' time, and it advised personnel to shelter in place. 

At the main harbors in Maui, Oahu, Lanai, Molokai and Kauai, the U.S. Coast Guard set heavy weather condition Zulu over the weekend. All of these primary facilities - including Honolulu Harbor - remained open with restrictions Sunday, according to the USCG's Homeport notification system.