Storm Lane South of Hawaii Strengthens Into Major Hurricane

Aug 22, 2018, 23:38
Storm Lane South of Hawaii Strengthens Into Major Hurricane

But the track is uncertain this early, and there's a chance Lane by Tuesday night could bring winds of at least tropical-storm strength (39 miles per hour and higher) to Hawaii's Big Island, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center says.

Hurricane Lane is poised to give Hawaii an unusually major encounter with a major cyclone - and could batter the Big Island with rain and tropical storm force winds as early as Wednesday night.

On Wednesday morning, a hurricane warning was issued for Maui County, while a hurricane watch was issued for Kauai County.

Hurricane Lane has weakened as it approaches Hawaii but was still expected to pack a wallop, forecasters said Wednesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Dye says Hurricane Lane was 320 miles (515 kilometers) southeast of Hilo shortly before 5:30 a.m.

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While tropical storms and hurricanes regularly roam in the waters nearby Hawaii, direct effects from storms as intense as Lane are unusual and its population is not well-accustomed to them.

"Some people might say, 'Another hurricane, it didn't hit us last time, we don't need to worry.' No, we got to plan for the worst and hope for the best", Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said on Monday.

Lane is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale and was 675 miles (1,080km) south-east of Hilo, Hawaii as of 11pm HST on Sunday (10am BST Monday). It may take until the weekend for Lane to succumb to wind shear and weaken to a tropical storm.

Through Saturday, 10-15 inches of rain are generally expected, with isolated amounts greater than 20 inches, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said.

The watch indicates hurricane conditions are possible and that winds of at least 39 miles per hour are anticipated in the next two days.

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"It's showing a significant swing to the north as it kind of makes its way around the Big Island", Talmadge Magno, Hawai'i County Civil Defense Administrator said this morning.

The forecast puts the storm very close to the islands, with a direct landfall possible later this week.

Hurricane Lane "is forecast to move dangerously close to the main Hawaiian islands as a hurricane later this week, potentially bringing damaging winds and life-threatening flash flooding from heavy rainfall", the weather service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center warned as it got closer to the state.

While the Big Island, at most immediate risk from Lane, has been hit by tropical depressions and storms, it also has never been struck directly by a hurricane-strength storm in modern records.

"We are in hurricane season", Magno said.

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