Hurricane Douglas: Parts of Hawaii brace for Category 1 storm

Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau are expected to get up to 15 inches of rain, with large breaking waves.

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By Ben Kesslen

Officials told Hawaii residents Sunday to brace for a category 1 hurricane barreling toward the islands with 90 mph winds and flash flood warnings.

Maui was expected to be hit first, Oahu by the afternoon and Kauai and Niihau by the evening, the National Hurricane Center said. The Big Island of Hawaii is under a tropical storm warning.

"Heavy rainfall associated with Douglas is expected to affect portions of the main Hawaiian Islands from early this morning into Monday," the center forecast, warning residents of up to 15 inches of rain in elevated areas. Officials warned that the heavy rainfall could produce flash floods and said that even in areas under tropical storm warnings, "the steep terrain of the islands" makes hurricane-force winds possible.

Hurricane Douglas as seen from space.NOAA

"Large breaking waves will raise water levels by as much as 3 feet above normal tides near the center," the center warned, saying the waves would bring a dangerous storm surge.

City and state parks closed throughout the islands Sunday, and some grocery stores and markets shuttered early. Anyone camping at Oahu city parks was told the leave, and some tourist destinations were closed, as well.

Hawaii is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The state recorded its third straight single-day record Saturday, according to NBC affiliate KHNL of Honolulu, with 73 new cases reported. Of those, 68 were found on Oahu and five on Maui, where the storm is expected to have an impact.