Hawaii Braces For Hurricane Lane, Now A Category 5

Audrey Hill
August 23, 2018

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Lane was a Category 5 hurricane circulating 160 mph winds some 360 miles south-southeast of Kailua-Kona and 300 miles south-southeast of South Point, according to Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters.

Lane is an extremely strong Category 4 hurricane, bordering on Category 5, with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles an hour. Roofs and walls will collapse.

Hawaii residents rushed to grocery stores Tuesday to stock up on bottled water, ramen and toilet paper as they faced the threat of heavy rain, flash flooding and high surf from a powerful and erratic hurricane expected to churn close to the islands or directly over them.

Forecasters said it was still uncertain whether the eye of the powerful hurricane would hit land in the US island chain, whose Big Island is reeling from a three-month eruption of Kilauea volcano.

"Slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Lane is forecast to remain a unsafe hurricane as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands", the center said. Hurricane watches cover Oahu and Kauai, where conditions are expected to deteriorate Thursday night into Friday morning.

According to the latest forecast track, Lane is slated to remain a risky hurricane when its center moves very close or over parts of the state Thursday through Saturday. Bands of intense showers and thunderstorms will reach the Big Island as early as late tonight or tomorrow morning.

A swell generated by Lane could bring very large and rough surf and risky rip currents for south- and southeast-facing shores, the weather service said. State offices on Hawaii Island and Maui will be closed from Wednesday through Friday.

Also effective Wednesday, all after-school activities and programs including interscholastic athletic events and After-School Plus (A+) Programs are canceled statewide for the remainder of the week.

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Landfalling hurricanes are very rare in Hawaii, as the Central Pacific does not normally see as many storms as the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands present a very small target in the vast Pacific Ocean.

Computer models mostly do not predict the storm to make a direct hit on the islands, which would be the worst-case scenario.

Hawaii Public Radio has a rundown of emergency phone numbers and guides for Hawaii residents preparing for the storm. Coastal evacuations are possible, the weather service said.

Hurricane Lane, as it moved within 300 miles of the islands, became the closest Category 5 storm on record to approach Hawaii before it began to weaken.

He reminded people to have emergency kits ready and to "withdraw cash".

"The center of Lane will track dangerously close to the islands Thursday through Saturday", the advisory said.

The state Department of Education says Maui County and Big Island schools will be closed starting Wednesday. "Remember, if the power goes out, ATMs aren't going to be working".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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