Hurricane Expected to Pass Close to Hawaii
HONOLULU (AP) _ Hurricane Dalilia surprised forecasters and turned north, putting it on course to pass close to Hawaii late today and prompting authorities to warn residents anew to stock up on emergency items.
On Tuesday, the storm appeared to be turning away from the islands, but it shifted to a northwesterly direction and forecasters said Dalilia could come closer than they initially expected.
Forecasters said Dalilia’s new track would bring its center to within 70 miles of Hawaii Island’s south coast late today.
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center expected to upgrade a tropical storm watch - meaning wind up to 73 mph and heavy rain were possible - to a hurricane warning for Hawaii Island, southernmost in the Hawaiian chain.
At 2 a.m. today, the hurricane was about 310 miles southeast of Hilo, on Hawaii Island, moving west-northwest at about 13 mph, the National Weather Service said. Its maximum sustained wind speed was 75 mph; a storm is classified a hurricane when that speed reaches 74 mph. Wind gusted to 90 mph.
National Weather Service forecaster Dick Sasaki said Dalilia’s hurricane- force winds extend to 25 miles from its center.
″The storm’s center would have to pass very close or right over any of the islands to bring any hurricane-force winds,″ Sasaki said.
″Right now our main concern is high surf,″ said Neil Gyotoku, a spokesman for Hawaii County Civil Defense. ″High tide is this afternoon and they’re expecting bigger surf to hit about then.″
There were no immediate plans for evacuation, Gyotoku said.
Hawaii residents were urged to stock up on batteries, canned goods and other emergency supplies.
Hawaii Island beach parks were closed Tuesday when surf surged to more than 15 feet on the southeast coast of Hawaii Island.
″We’re going to be keeping these beaches closed as a precautionary measure,″ said Bruce Butts, a spokesman for Hawaii County Civil Defense.
Although there were reports of waves washing up on coastal roads in some spots, Hilo police said there were no reports of injury or damage as of late Tuesday.
The last major storm to hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iwa, which brushed the island of Oahu and roared over of Kauai with wind up to 117 mph in November 1982, causing $234 million damage.