Hurricane Norman maintains track on its northwest path

Storm loses some strength but remains a hurricane

The Maui News – Hurricane Norman weakened as it moved northwest Thursday, edging closer to the Hawaiian Island chain, although its projected path put it well away from inflicting harm.

There were no hurricane warnings or advisories for residents, but a high-surf warning remained in effect for Maui, Molokai, the Big Island, Oahu and Kauai until 6 a.m. today.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the hurricane was hundreds of miles east of Maui, moving northwest at 9 mph. Its maximum sustained winds were clocked at 110 mph with higher gusts. But by the 5 p.m. report, wind speeds near the storm’s center had dropped to 100 mph.

Norman’s eye was located 275 miles northeast of Hilo and 405 miles east of Honolulu. The storm continued moving northwest at 9 mph.

Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige announced Thursday afternoon that he had asked President Donald Trump to declare Hawaii a major disaster area in the wake of Hurricane Lane, which made its closest approach to Maui County on Aug. 24.

Ige’s announcement said the request for a federal disaster area declaration included flooding and wildfires that happened as a result of the hurricane from Aug. 22 to 29.

“The magnitude and severity of the disaster requires federal assistance,” Ige said. “This exceeds the state’s response capability, and it has impacted local governments.”

The governor is seeking authorization of the Public Assistance Grant Program, individual assistance programs and Small Business Administration disaster assistance for Maui and Hawaii counties. Ige also is requesting the Hazard Mitigation Grant program statewide and 100 percent federal funding for a 72-hour period in the initial days of the disaster.

Forecasters predicted today would be partly to mostly cloudy with scattered showers and high temperatures from 84 to 89 degrees and overnight lows of 73 to 78. Winds were predicted to blow out of the east around 15 mph.

Variable winds to 15 mph are expected this weekend, with scattered daytime and isolated nighttime showers.

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