Ana Downgrades To Tropical Storm, Spares Hawaii

Following days of concern, Hawaii residents were able to begin to relax on Sunday after reports that Hurricane Ana had downgraded by late afternoon into a tropical storm.

Though Ana brushed awfully close to the state, threatening to directly impact, the nearest she actually got to Hawaii was about 70 miles southwest of the island Niihau on Sunday. Overall, leaving the state’s islands completely soaked, but otherwise intact.

“It was a fortuitous track,” said Chris Brenchley, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

Residents took to precaution last week after news of Ana made its way around, stocking up on bottled water, opening shelters, and canceling most events.

By Sunday afternoon, however, all but one shelter on Kauai had shut down, according to the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross, while a tropical storm watch was canceled for Oahu, the state’s most populous island.

In Kauai and Niihau, a tropical storm warning remained in effect, while a hurricane watch has been issued for parts of a few distant northwestern Hawaiian islands, which are mostly home to marine life.

“The good news is, it looks like we’ve dodged a bullet yet again,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell apprised.

Initially, islands like Kauai braced for the worst, after forecasters warned that the storm was coming closer than anticipated. Many locals were distressed, remembering Hurricane Iniki that killed six people and ravished more than 1,000 homes in 1992.

Up to now, Ana has not caused any injuries, deaths, or significant damage, mostly bringing heavy rain, large waves, and minor flooding.

Yet, officials advise people to continue to stay home, avoid swamped roads, and most importantly, keep out of the ocean.

“The ocean is angry today,” Honolulu Ocean Safety Chief Jim Howe said, adding that the brown water left by the storm’s runoff attracts sharks.

For some residents, the weather has been disappointingly calm.

“It’s kind of a nonevent so far,” local Kevin Adkissonhe told Fox News. “I was kind of looking forward to my first hurricane, but I’m glad it didn’t tear anything up or hurt anybody.”

The weather service reports that Ana is expected to gain strength and become a hurricane again as she moves northwest.