Hurricane Ana makes waves as she passes Hawaiian Islands

Hurricane Ana may not make landfall on any of Hawaii’s islands, but that’s not stopping her from pounding the shorelines and producing winds strong enough to warrant weather warnings.

Forecasters predict that Ana stayed about 150 miles away from the Big Island as she passed by late Friday night. While a chance for hurricane conditions were slim, a tropical storm watch remained in effect throughout the islands as winds reach nearly 40 mph.

Chris Brenchley, a weather service meteorologist said, “Any of the islands could experience tropical storm impacts…so it’s important to still prepare and make plans.”

According to the National Weather Service, Ana became a Category 1 hurricane while about 230 miles south of Hilo with sustained winds of 80 mph. It’s expected she’ll gradually weaken to a tropical storm by early Sunday morning.

As Ana makes her way northwest along the chain of islands, waves were expected to crest 10 to 15 feet on the North and South shores of the islands late Saturday and Sunday. Waves remained small on Oahu Friday morning, however by Friday afternoon, 15-foot waves were seen in Pohoiki Bay.

Most areas are expected to see between 6 to 8 inches of rain, although a few of the more isolated areas could see up to a foot of rain.

Governor Neil Abercrombie declared the storm an emergency and called in the state to help respond to the storm. On Friday, the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross opened evacuation shelters on the Big Island.

Island Air plans to suspend Lanai and Maui flights starting Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. The larger airports remain open.

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