Flash flood, landslide warnings issued as Hurricane Lane nears Hawaii

Deanna Kelley
August 24, 2018

Hurricane Lane, which could be the most powerful storm to hit Hawaii since Hurricane Iniki in 1992, was forecast to continue its northwest turn toward the islands on Thursday.

America's Pacific paradise is now under a state of emergency as Hurricane Lane soaks the Big Island.

The center of the storm is expected to move very close to the main islands or cross into land Thursday through Friday, forecasters said.

Hawaii Police Department reported multiple road closures due to the heavy rains from Hurricane Lane.

"We have advised the members of the Filipino Community to prepare emergency kits good for 14 days, as well as heed all the warnings and advise of Hawaii State and Federal government authorities and the specific warnings for their areas", Jimeno said.

On the Big Island's northern tip, landslides were blocking parts of Route 19, the county civil defense agency said.

Lane is expected to weaken slowly through Friday, but it still is forecast "to remain a risky hurricane as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands", the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center says.

Buses in Honolulu have been shuttling residents in need to shelters.

If Hawaii didn't already have enough on its plate regarding natural disasters, the island is now bracing for a category 4 hurricane.

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Pi said Hurricane Lane is expected to drop 15 to 20 inches of rain on Maui and the west side of Hawaii, while Oahu is expected to get 10 to 15 inches rain. The watch indicates hurricane conditions are possible and that winds of at least 39 miles per hour are anticipated in the next two days.

But the Pacific Ocean is massive, and the Hawaiian Islands are not so big, at least geographically speaking.

Instead, they must stay put and make sure they have enough supplies to outlast prolonged power outages and other potential emergencies.

The airline is advising all passengers travelling to or from cities affected by Hurricane Lane to check the status of their flights prior to leaving for the airport. Lane escalated to a Category 5 hurricane, the highest level, earlier this week before weakening to Cat 4.

Hurricane Lane on its way to Hawaii. Hawaii rarely gets hit, and the last major storm there was Iniki in 1992.

President Trump's declaration secures federal emergency response funding as well as Homeland Security and FEMA assistance. "We are grateful to the president and FEMA for the swift approval of our request as our state braces for the severe weather ahead", the governor said. Hurricane Lane has weakened as it approaches Hawaii but was still expected to pack a wallop, forecasters said Wednesday.

The hurricane could dump up to 50 centimetres of rain in places, leading to warnings of flash flooding.

Hurricane-related deaths in Puerto Rico have been estimated at as many as 4,600 people, largely because prolonged and widespread power outages and washed out roads prevented access to health care, according to USA researchers.

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