Douglas Anticipated to Impact All Islands, Officials Say
President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration as Hurricane Douglas is on track to impact the Hawaiian Island chain tomorrow.
On Saturday, Gov. David Ige gathered state officials together to discuss Hurricane Douglas and its impacts on Hawai‘i. Churning toward Hilo as a Cat 2 hurricane, it is gradually weakening, according to John Bravender, warning coordination meteorologist for the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
However, Bravender said any deviation of Douglas could create hurricane conditions on any of the islands. As of 2 p.m., maximum winds were at 90 mph and it was 280 miles from Hilo.
Ige assured the public that state and federal emergency responders, including The Federal Emergency Management Agency, is also in the state to provide assistance. are in the state to address the impacts of the hurricane.
“We feel prepared as the storm approaches and encourage people to do their part,” Ige said. “We do know when we act together we can be a resilient and responsive community.”
Bravender said Big Island residents should currently being seeing the impacts from Douglas through large surf. As the hurricane is currently forecasted, the meteorologist explained, winds and heavy rains are anticipated for the northern half of the island chain.
“It’s still close enough to any slight adjust could have significant impacts,” Bravender said.
Administrator Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Luke Meyers said the state is ready for its response to the hurricane. At this point, he added, they have 40 personnel working 12-hour shifts.
With the last remaining daylight hours today, Meyers urges residents to take time to complete its preparations as the state hunkers down.
While concerns are turned toward Douglas, Ige has not forgotten about the current crisis affecting Hawaii, the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there are 625 individuals in isolation or quarantine. Ige said during the press conference this afternoon that all those people have been contacted and confirmed they will be sheltering in place.
The Red Cross has four shelters on standby in Hawai‘i County. As the Red Cross has made preparations for Douglas Maria Lutz, Director of Emergency Services, said they’ve had difficulties recruiting volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, Lutz said, the organization has mobilized 300 volunteers. She assured that personal protective equipment is provided to volunteers and other measures have been taken to protect the staff, volunteers and those seeking shelter. Click here to volunteer.
Additionally, the state is working with all the counties to reach out to homeless that may need to relocate to shelters.