Hurricane Douglas continues to track towards Hawaii as now a 90mph Category 1 hurricane as it continues to move across the central Pacific, still with a high chance of making a rare landfall on one of the islands of Hawaii.
Hurricane Douglas intensified into a major storm in recent days and peaked with 130 mph Category 4 sustained winds and higher gusts.
Gradual weakening was forecast as hurricane Douglas tracks towards the islands of Hawaii, but the storm stands a strong chance of maintaining at least low hurricane force winds by the time it reaches them.
Update, Sunday 26th July, 17:00 BST:
The Hurricane Watch for Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe has now been upgraded to a Hurricane Warning, suggesting the forecasters believe hurricane Douglas will come very close to making landfall there.
Hurricane Douglas remains a dangerous hurricane with strong 90mph category 1 sustained winds, but some further weakening is still expected before it comes closest to Hawaii.
The latest forecast from the NHC says that Douglas is likely to remain a weak hurricane by the time it comes closest to the Hawaiian islands, raising the potential for some property damage to occur from its winds and storm surge particularly in Maui which looks set to see the nearest encounter with the storm.
At the moment the forecast map above shows that hurricane Douglas is targeting the Hawaiian island of Maui, but with a day or two to track that could change and the Big Island is not yet clear of any Douglas landfall threat.
Douglas provides a useful reminder that the threat posed to the reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) industry from named storms and hurricanes is not only in the Atlantic, but that U.S. property insured exposures also exist in sufficient concentration to cause significant reinsurance losses in the Pacific as well.
A few outstanding catastrophe bonds that cover named storm risks are also on-risk for a Hawaiian hurricane, but it would need to be considerably larger in terms of landfall severity than Douglas looks set to be for any cat bonds to be troubled.
The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) provided the following update on hurricane Douglas as it tracks towards Hawaii.
…DANGEROUS HURRICANE DOUGLAS CLOSING IN ON THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS…
…HURRICANE WARNING ISSUED FOR MAUI COUNTY…
SUMMARY OF 500 AM HST…1500 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 145 MI…230 KM E OF KAHULUI HAWAII
ABOUT 235 MI…380 KM E OF HONOLULU HAWAII
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…90 MPH…150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 285 DEGREES AT 16 MPH…26 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…983 MB…29.03 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY…
The Hurricane Watch for Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe has been upgraded to a Hurricane Warning.
The Hurricane Watch has been canceled for Hawaii County.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for portions of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument from French Frigate Shoals to Maro Reef.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT…
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe
* Kauai County, including the islands of Kauai and Niihau
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Hawaii County
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* Portions of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument from Nihoa to French Frigate Shoals to Maro Reef.
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 500 AM HST (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Douglas was located near latitude 20.7 North, longitude 154.3 West. Douglas is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, Douglas will pass near, or over, the islands from Maui to Kauai today and tonight.
Maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Douglas is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves through the islands.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 983 mb (29.03 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected in portions of Maui County today, on Oahu by this afternoon, and on Kauai and Niihau tonight. Tropical Storm conditions are imminent across the Big Island. Due to the steep terrain of the islands, hurricane-force wind gusts are possible even within the tropical storm warning area.
SURF: Large swells generated by Douglas will affect the Hawaiian Islands into Monday, producing life-threatening and potentially destructive surf along exposed shores.
STORM SURGE: The combination of higher than predicted water levels, dangerous storm surge, and large breaking waves will raise water levels by as much as 3 feet above normal tides near the center of Douglas.
RAINFALL: Heavy rainfall associated with Douglas is expected to affect portions of the main Hawaiian Islands from early this morning into Monday. Total rain accumulations of 5 to 10 inches are possible from Maui County westward to Kauai County, with the greatest amounts up to 15 inches in elevated terrain. This rain may result in life-threatening flash flooding and land slides, as well as rapid water level rises on small streams. Douglas could produce an additional 2 to 4 inches of rainfall over the northern half of the Big Island.