Hurricane Douglas, the strongest storm on Earth, is approaching Hawaii but is forecast to weaken before it reaches the island chain this weekend. While it has weakened below major hurricane status, the current forecast brings it on a unsafe trek through the Pacific archipelago starting tonight and lasting into early Monday.
The system is roughly 1,000 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, but is moving toward the island chain w ith expectations it will touch down on the islands this Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Douglas intensified into a major storm in recent days, but as of now seems to have peaked with 130 miles per hour Category 4 sustained winds and higher gusts.
If Douglas makes landfall in Hawaii as a hurricane, it will become the third storm in the modern record to do so.
It is significant to not aim on the middle of the forecast track but know that the storm could hit anyplace inside of the forecast cone issued by the hurricane center.
The government of Barbados had canceled its hurricane watch for the island, the center said, but a tropical storm warning remained in effect for the area.
SURF: Large swells generated by Douglas are expected to affect the Hawaiian Islands during the next couple of days, and storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above normal tides is expected near the center of Douglas.
A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Oahu.
Hurricane watches have now been raised for the islands of Hawaii with Maui still looking to be the location that hurricane Douglas will track closest to.
"Realistically, any part of the state could be impacted by Douglas".
Maximum sustained winds are near 115 miles per hour (185 km/h) with higher gusts. The hurricane centre forecast among 6 to 10 inches of rain for parts of the islands with isolated greatest totals of 15 inches are probable, in particular in increased terrain.
Douglas was still expected to be at or near hurricane strength when it gets closer to the eastern end of the Hawaiian islands by Saturday night or Sunday, he said. This may be enhanced on the north side of the islands where winds will blow onshore, although flooding is possible just about anywhere.
Since Douglas is a fairly small tropical cyclone, small shifts in its track or intensity fluctuations can mean major differences for the islands in its projected path.
"Remember, impacts are realized well away from the center of the storm", the National Weather Service stated.
The impacts on the state will depend on the storm's track and how strong it is when it nears the state.
Although it is a warm-weather island destination, Hawaii's location in a cooler area of sea surface temperatures has historically protected it from anything but the rare hurricane strike.
The storm also will build huge swells that are very likely to bring about everyday living-threatening surf and rip recent situations for many times.
The powerful storm was moving west-northwest near 18 miles per hour.