Hurricane Douglas spares Honolulu, skirts Hawaii

A cyclist rides along an empty Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii as Hurricane Douglas veers northward, sparing Oahu from a direct hit

Honolulu (AFP) - Hurricane Douglas swept north of Hawaii late Sunday, sparing Honolulu but still posing a threat to Kauai on the northwestern end of the Pacific island chain.

The storm was expected to skirt north of Kauai as it barrels past the Hawaiian islands, packing 90 mile per hour (150 kph) winds, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane warnings for Oahu were cancelled but remained in effect for Kauai and Niihau islands.

The category one storm was around 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of the capital Honolulu at 11:00 pm (0900 GMT Monday), according to the NHC.

"Hurricane Douglas (is) a little stronger as it pulls away from Oahu and skirts north of Kauai," the center said.

It is rare for severe storms to make landfall in Hawaii, which has been hit by hurricanes just twice in its modern history -- Dot in 1959 and Iniki in 1992.

Maui county lifted its hurricane warning after skies began clearing over the island by mid-afternoon and mayor Mike Victorino said there were no reports of serious damage.

Evacuation centers had been opened in Honolulu, a city of 350,000, with space for up to 1,600 people, but fears of coronavirus spread made them "a last resort," the city's mayor Kurt Caldwell said.

"If you are sheltering away from home today, please remember that #COVID19 is not taking a break for the storm," Caldwell tweeted Sunday evening.

Large swells generated by Douglas were expected to affect the islands into Monday, raising the risk of damage from high surf to shoreline property.

Hurricane conditions were expected across northern Kauai, including up to three to six inches of rain, which posed a threat of flash floods and landslides.

Roads flooded in Texas

Hurricane Hanna meanwhile was downgraded to a tropical depression, bringing heavy rain and the threat of flash floods to northeastern Mexico after lashing Texas.

It was still packing winds of around 25 miles (35 kilometers) an hour as of early Monday, the NHC said, adding the storm should continue to dissipate.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or widespread damage, and both Mexico and Texas had lifted all coastal storm warnings by afternoon.

Damage appeared limited in the immediate aftermath of Hanna's Saturday arrival on Padre Island, a 110-mile-long barrier island off the Texas coast.

Images captured by CBS showed roads and a caravan park in the Texas coastal city of Corpus Christi strewn with debris and downed trees.

Some motorists braved flooded roads, while one hardy storm-watcher was seen calmly taking pictures of the beach from a wind-swept promenade.

Images shared by the National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi showed water lapping at the city's bayfront Art Museum of South Texas. 

© Agence France-Presse