Hurricane Ana weakens, moves west of Hawaii
Heavy rains continued to blanket much of Hawaii on Sunday as Hurricane Ana weakened and headed away from the state, with flash-flood advisories remaining in place for several communities.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service listed the storm as a Category 1 -- the weakest possible classification for a hurricane -- as it moved westward Sunday morning away from the major islands of Kauai and Niihau, avoiding direct landfall.
Ana could be downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm by Sunday night, according to the weather service.
Ana’s sustained wind speeds reached about 75 mph as its center hovered about 120 miles southwest of Kauai at 11:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement from the weather service. Winds from the storm had reached 85 mph on Saturday.
Still, as Ana weakened Sunday, tropical storm warnings remained in effect for both Kauai and Niihau, keeping several national parks and beaches on both islands closed. American Red Cross shelters remained open on both islands.
For several days residents have watched as the storm barreled over the Pacific Ocean southwest of Hawaii.
As the storm loomed, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation that would have given impacted areas quick access to state and federal resources if Ana made landfall.
Rainfall is expected to continue for several days as Ana continues to move away from the islands and farther into the Pacific.
In August, Tropical Storm Iselle hammered the Hawaiian Islands with high winds and heavy rains, leaving thousands without electricity for several weeks.
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