The Latest: Douglas Still Approaching As Category 1 Hurricane; Record-Setting 73 New Virus Cases
Updated: 7/25/2020, 8:11 p.m.
Hurricane Douglas is still approaching the islands with the potential to deliver destructive winds, floods, landslides and life-threatening surf and currents through this weekend into Monday. Oahu remains under a hurricane warning, meaning hurricane conditions are expected within the next 36 hours. The other counties, including Kauai, are now under tropical storm warnings.
At 8 p.m., the National Weather Service forecasters said Douglas remains a category 1 hurricane. Last located 200 miles east of Hilo, the hurricane was tracking west-northwest at 16 mph and packing maximum sustained winds of 90 mph with higher gusts.
On its current track, Douglas will be near the islands late tonight and is expected to move near or over parts of the state tomorrow and tomorrow night.
The hurricane warning for Oahu puts it at highest risk but Maui and the Big Island remain under a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning. Kauai is now under a tropical storm warning as well.
Forecasters warn just a small change in the hurricane's track can mean significant impacts for different parts of the state.
While it has weakened on its approach, Douglas can still bring hurricane-strength winds capable of causing major damage to structures and toppling large trees.
Douglas may drop its heaviest rains, between 5 to 10 inches, on Maui County, Oahu and Kauai County, said Chris Brenchley with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Higher terrain potentially seeing heavier downpours. This could produce flash flooding and landslides.
Large, potentially damaging surf will arrive ahead of Douglas, likely impacting all islands. Storm surge between 2 to 4 feet above normal tides is expected near the center of Douglas.
Prepare to hunker down
Throughout the state, officials urged residents to plan to stay at home tomorrow. Many activities, including the city's Open Streets event in Waikiki and YMCA of Honolulu branches, will be closed tomorrow.
Hawaiian Airlines announced this afternoon it has canceled all flights tomorrow between the islands and the Mainland because of anticipated weather conditions. Neighbor Island flights tomorrow and selected flights this evening between Honolulu and Maui and Hawaii Island were also canceled earlier. Passengers can change flights without fees and check their flight status at HawaiianAirlines.com/flight-status.
The city's TheBus and TheHandiVan services will stop service at noon tomorrow. Officials advise riders to complete their travel before that hour. If conditions allow, bus service will resume at 6 a.m. on Monday.
City trash pick up and bulk item pickups are canceled for Monday. All refuse convenience centers, transfer stations and Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill will close tomorrow and Monday.
The city parks, zoo and all golf courses will be closed tomorrow and Monday.
Trump approves federal disaster declaration
President Trump has approved a federal disaster declaration in advance of Hurricane Douglas, making federal resources available for disaster preparation and response. County mayors issued emergency proclamations yesterday following Gov. David Ige declaration Thursday, allowing the state to respond quickly to impacts from Douglas.
Ige also said he is prepared to activate Hawaii National Guard, beyond those assigned for COVID-19 assistance, to help with any hurricane-related impacts.
Those abiding by the mandatory 14-day travel quarantine should remain in quarantine, Ige said. But if they need supplies, they can break quarantine as a last resort, but maintain social distance and use noncontact retail transactions and curbside pickup services to reduce the risk of virus spread.
"If they believe that the quarantine site is not safe for any reason, then they should contact the Department of Health or other emergency responders or get to a shelter location," he said.
Shelters will be limited, COVID-challenged
Because of COVID-19 physical distancing requirements, emergency shelters can accommodate significantly fewer residents who need to be sheltered, the governor said.
The counties, which operate the shelters, have urged residents and visitors to shelter in place or with friends or family and only use the shelters as a last resort if they need to evacuate. If you go to a shelter, you must bring your own food, water, medicine, blankets and COVID-19 supplies, such as face masks and hand sanitizer.
The American Red Cross, which staffs the shelters for the counties, has also put out a call for more help, having lost about 70 percent of its volunteers because of concerns over the virus. Those who are in good health can apply by visiting the Red Cross website.
Shelter locations by counties:
Oahu Opens Tomorrow, 9 a.m.
Pets allowed at all locations but must be securely leased or caged.
* Hawaiian Humane Society staffed.
—Central - *Mililani HS, 95-1200 Meheula Pkway
—Central - Moanalua HS, 2825 Ala Ilima St.
—Central - Waialua H/I, 67-160 Farrington Hwy.
—Honolulu - *Hawaii Convention Center, 1801 Kalakaua Ave.
—Honolulu - Niu Valley MS, 310 Halemaumau St.
—Leeward - *Campbell HS, 91-980 North Rd.
—Leeward - Leihoku ES, 86-285 Leihoku St.
—Leeward - *Nanakuli H/I, 889-980 Nakakuli Ave.
—Leeward - *Pearl City HS, 2100 Hookiekie St.
—Waimanalo - *Castle HS, 45-386 Kaneohe Bay Dr.
—Windward - Kalaheo HS, 730 Iliaina St.
—Windward - *King IS, 46-155 Kamehameha Hwy.
—Windward - Pope ES, 41-133 Huli St.
Maui Shelters Open Tonight and Tomorrow
* Pets allowed at sites indicated but need to be in hard shell kennels
—*Maui HS Opening 6:30 p.m. tonight.
—*King Kekaulike Opening 7 p.m. tonight
—*South Maui Gym Opening 7 p.m. tonight
—Lahaina Intermediate Opening 7 p.m. tonight
—Hana HS Opening 7 p.m. tonight
—*Lanai HS Tomorrow morning 7 a.m.
—Molokai HS Tomorrow morning 7 a.m.
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said in his daily video that shelters will open as needed. He advised residents to check for updates on the county website.
Hawaii County said on its Facebook page that a decision on shelters will be made after the National Weather Service's weather update at 5 p.m. today.
If Hurricane Douglas makes landfall in the islands this weekend, it will be the first cyclone to do so since 1992, when Hurricane Iniki devastated portions of Kauai and caused $3.1 billion in damage and six deaths.
Third record-setting day in COVID-19 cases
Updated: 7/25/2020, 10:18 a.m.
The Hawaii Department of Health reported the state's highest COVID-19 case count today with 73 new cases, outpacing the previous two days' of daily records. Of today's new cases, 68 are on Oahu and 5 are on Maui island.
The latest numbers have prompted Maui Mayor Michael Victorino to call for reinstatement of quarantine requirements on interisland travelers.
"Thursday's, Friday's and today's numbers demonstrate the relaxation of safe practices from the 4th of July, particularly on O'ahu, may have been one primary reason for these daily new records," said state Health Director Bruce Anderson.
"We're beginning to see more cases among younger to middle-age adults; many who relay stories of attending gatherings, parties, events, or socializing at bars," he said.
Anderson said there are calls for re-instituting restrictions given the surge in cases. "We are closely monitoring the situation, evaluating exposure risks, and currently in discussions on going back to previous restrictions on activities."
State Epidemiologist Sarah Park said household clusters and clusters are associated with social gatherings such 4th of July events, birthday parties, TV sports events, religious functions, work meetings and funerals.
"Our investigations and contact tracing show in many of these settings people have relaxed their physical distancing and use of facial coverings."
Of yesterday's 60 new cases, 58 are on Oahu, one is on Maui and one is a Hawai’i resident diagnosed out of state. On Thursday, the state reported 55 new cases with one new death, bringing the total death toll up to 26.
The state total now stands at 1,620 cases. Out of that total, there are 1,291 cases on Oahu, 146 in Maui County, 117 in Hawaii County, 43 on Kauai. Two cases were reported from Oahu's count based on updated information. There were 23 residents diagnosed outside of the state.