Hawaii braces for 'life threatening' hit from Hurricane Lane

by Edgar Hayes August 23, 2018, 0:33
Hawaii braces for 'life threatening' hit from Hurricane Lane

The onset of damaging tropical-storm-force winds on the Big Island could start later this evening, with unsafe hurricane force winds starting in the overnight hours.

A major hurricane is heading west in the Central Pacific toward Hawaii.

A Category 5 hurricane is headed for Hawaii with wind speeds up to 160 miles per hour. Even if the center of Lane doesn't make landfall, the islands could be walloped with rain and wind.

The hurricane was moving at 15 km/h, said meteorologist Melissa Nye.

The current forecast track has the storm making a turn to the northwest sometime Wednesday into Thursday, with the center expected to pass close to the islands of Hawaii and Maui starting on Thursday.

This is will allow Hurricane Lane to move north and impact the islands.

- Excessive rainfall is possible which could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides.

Hawaii has been plagued by freak natural events this year after a 30,000 foot high ash cloud from the Kilauea volcano blanketed the island in lava and dust. The service has warned that power outages will last for weeks to possibly months and most of an area hit by the hurricane will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Meteorologist Chevy Chevalier in Honolulu said its winds had slowed overnight from 160 miles per hour to 155 miles per hour (259 to 250 kph), prompting a downgrade from a Category 5 to a Category 4 hurricane.

Lane had previously crossed the Category 5 line.

It's not possible to know which islands will see the worst storm effects right now due to the close proximity of the hurricane track to the Hawaiian Islands and uncertainties in Lane's track caused by increasing wind shear through the atmosphere as it moves northward.

Global Affairs Canada issued the alert on Wednesday and cited Hawaii County, Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, Oahu and Kauai, as areas to avoid. A hurricane watch is still in effect for Honolulu and Kauaʻi counties.

Residents are stocking up on essentials are they prepare for Lane to reach Hawaii.

The County of Hawaii's mayor, Harry Kim, declared a state of emergency on the Big Island, effective Tuesday morning.

Forecasters warned of large swells that could produce risky surf and strong currents along some shorelines, beginning Wednesday on the Big Island.

Hurricane Lane is hurtling toward Hawaii. Hurricane Iniki, the most powerful Hawaiian hurricane recorded before Lane, killed six people, injured more than 1,000 and caused $1.8 billion in damage back in 1992, according to TK. "But I remember the wind being the strongest force of nature I've ever witnessed and probably the scariest sounds I've ever heard in my life", he said.

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