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Hawaii prepares for high winds, rain as Hurricane Douglas nears

Hawaii prepares for high winds, rain as Hurricane Douglas nears
Posted at 10:00 AM, Jul 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-26 10:00:38-04

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Douglas, which is projected to start impacting the island state on Sunday.

The storm was gradually weakening on Saturday, but officials said that shouldn't lull anyone into complacency. They expect significant impacts as the Category 1 hurricane makes its point of closest approach or possible landfall.

Oahu is under a hurricane warning, with landfall expected as early as midday Sunday. The Big Island and Maui remained under hurricane watches.

Residents of the islands are grappling with escalating numbers of coronavirus cases as the storm bears down.

Hawaii has some of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the nation, but the numbers have been rising in recent weeks. On Friday, the state reported 60 new confirmed cases, a record high.

Thirteen shelters were open Sunday morning in the Honolulu area. Everyone must wear a face covering to be admitted. Also, each shelter has less capacity because of the physical distancing requirements to prevent the spread COVID-19.

The pandemic was complicating preparations for the American Red Cross, which operates emergency shelters on behalf of local governments. Many volunteers who normally staff the shelters are older or have pre-existing health conditions. Many of these volunteers are thus staying home for this storm.