On its track just north of Hawaii, Hurricane Douglas made history

Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 10:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hurricane Douglas didn’t bring the drenching rains and damaging winds to the islands that forecasters had feared.

But it’s still one for the record books.

According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, no hurricane has ever taken a path closer to Oahu than Douglas ― at least since the government started keeping official records in the 1950s.

The National Weather Service said the center of Hurricane Douglas passed just 25 miles north of Kahuku on Sunday night. If the Category 1 storm had taken a track 20 miles to the south ― or roughly the distance from Honolulu to Kapolei ― Oahu could have been pummeled.

“We’re really lucky,” said Bob Ballard, of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

In Douglas’ wake, forecasters cautioned against residents letting their guards down ― especially so early in the Central Pacific hurricane season, which runs through November.

“I don’t think folks realize just how much damage a hurricane could bring to the main Hawaiian Islands,” Ballard told Hawaii News Now. “We’ve been hit by hurricanes before and that’s how we know it’s going to happen again. So that’s why we need to take these things very seriously.”

The last hurricane on record to make such a close approach to Oahu was Hurricane Dot in August 1959. The Cat 1 storm passed roughly 60 miles southwest of Waianae before making landfall on Kauai.

The strongest winds from Hurricane Douglas in Hawaii were felt at Nene Cabin on the Big Island, where a 70 mph gust was measured. On Oahu, a 55 mph gust was recorded at Kuaokala.

This story will be updated.

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