Hurricane Ana, brushing past Hawaii, to bring strong rain, surf

Reuters , Saturday 18 Oct 2014

A hurricane churning past Hawaii will bring heavy rain, strong winds and severe surf conditions to the Pacific archipelago through the weekend but will not make a direct hit on the islands, the National Weather Service predicted on Saturday.

Hurricane Ana was carving a path across the Pacific Ocean roughly parallel with the Hawaiian islands and its eye was expected to pass about 150 miles (240 km) to the south of Honolulu on Saturday, according to forecasters.

Ana, a Category 1 storm, had maximum sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour and was predicted to drop to tropical storm status on Sunday, the National Weather Service said.

"The current forecast track will keep the strongest and most destructive winds offshore," AccuWeather meteorologists said.

No hurricane has landed a direct hit on Hawaii since Iniki, a Category 4 storm that struck in September 1992, killing six people and causing damage estimated at $2.4 billion.

Ana was expected to bring heavy, dangerous surf, and a tropical storm warning was in effect early Saturday for most of the islands, where up to 40 mile-per-hour (64 kph) winds were predicted.

Oahu, the most populated of the Hawaiian Islands, opened its emergency operations center on Friday morning and Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he would make a decision on opening shelters and closing beaches throughout the weekend.

"I urge Oahu residents to prepare by storing food and water for up to seven days, making sure their flashlights work, and having a family disaster plan," Caldwell said.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation for the state on Wednesday, and classes at the University of Hawaii West Hawai'i Campus have been canceled.

In August, Tropical Storm Iselle pummeled the Hawaiian Islands with high winds and heavy rain, forcing hundreds of people to seek shelter and knocking out power to more than 20,000 residents.

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