The system, which had maximum sustained winds of 50 m.p.h., was about 230 miles east of Corpus Christi, Texas, and moving west and northwest at 10 m.p.h on Friday evening.
Hurricane Douglas, now a major Category 3 hurricane, is getting closer to the Hawaiian Islands.
Hurricane Douglas effects could be felt as early as Saturday night, including heavy rain and wind, on Maui with hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings up for the county, the National Weather Service said in its 8 a.m. Saturday update.
Gradual weakening is forecast as hurricane Douglas tracks towards the islands of Hawaii, but the storm stands a strong chance of maintaining at least low hurricane force winds by the time it reaches them.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the Big Island of Hawaii and for Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe, . Starting Saturday night, Douglas will approach the state of Hawaii from the east. However, Douglas is still forecast to be near hurricane strength when it nears the islands.
Hurricane Douglas peaked earlier in the week as a Category 4 Major Hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. Finally, a Tropical Storm Warning will likely be required for Oahu later today. With the potential for a tropical cyclone impacting the state this weekend, any preparations such as assembling disaster supplies should be made now.
It now has maximum sustained winds have increased to near 195 km/h, with higher gusts. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within the next 36 to 48 hours.
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Hurricane force wind conditions are possible on the Big Island late Saturday night and Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Saturday evening. 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. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions for a couple of days. This may be enhanced on the north side of the islands where winds will blow onshore, although flooding is possible just about anywhere.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and three of those six developing into major hurricanes.
"Even if the center remains offshore, severe impacts could still be realized over the islands, as they extend well away from the center", the NWS warned. Mounting air makes a favorable atmosphere for tropical storm growth, which is why all eyes are on the Atlantic this period.
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 strengthened into a Category 1 storm Wednesday morning.
Breezy trade winds will build back across the state from east to west tonight into Thursday as a trough moves west of the state.