Earlier today, Hurricane Ana bared down on the Hawaiian Islands. As Ana lost force, it still churned dangerously close early on Sunday morning, threatening to batter each of the islands with massive wind and rain.
Hurricane Ana has been spinning on a parallel path southwest of the island chain for several days, and officials have opened emergency shelters and cancelled flights in precautions that come against the backdrop of a threat that hasn’t materialized.
As Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned those on Oahu not to let their guard down, people at Waikiki Beach jumped into the ocean to surf big waves generated as Ana passed.
Island resident, 23 year-old Emile Meder, was stoked for the big waves.
“Every time we have a hurricane, we know it’s going to be good.”
West of Oahu, on the smaller island of Kauai — where Hurricane Iniki killed six people and destroyed more than 1,400 homes in 1992 — the threat was taken a bit more seriously according to TBO.com. Mary Daubert, a county spokeswoman who remembers that terrible Hurricane in 1992, spoke on Saturday.
“Those of us that were here during that time remember, and so we are very cautious. Until she’s passed us, we all have to remain vigilant.”
Three emergency shelters were opened on Kauai as the National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for the island, and said the eye was coming closer than first predicted. A tropical storm watch remained in effect on Oahu but has been lifted for Maui, Lanai, and the Big Island.
Meanwhile, the national weather service issued a hurricane watch for parts of the remote northwestern Hawaiian islands, saying hurricane conditions are possible sometime late Monday around the island of Nihoa. Since Ana grew to hurricane force Friday, the center has remained more than 100 miles from land. The result has been high surf, occasional heavy rains, and strong winds, but no reports of significant damage. The American Red Cross has closed evacuation shelters on the Big Island, but those on Oahu remain open.
Island Air suspended its Maui and Lanai flights Saturday afternoon and all flights Sunday, but airports remained open.
The center of Hurricane Ana was about 120 miles south of Kauai and 125 miles southwest of Honolulu early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The hurricane packed sustained winds of 80 mph, but the storm has lost some momentum, moving along at just 6 mph, compared with 14 mph earlier.
[Image via en-maktoob]