Warning: Hurricane Lane reached category 5 and is expected to deliver devastating floods
Residents of Hawaii are preparing themselves for what could be a major impact from Hurricane Lane. The storm is well set to bring heavy floods and dangerous winds with current windspeeds of up to 160 MPH.
As early as Wednesday night, the storm is poised to deliver destructive winds and torrents of rain, as much as 20 inches on shore. The Big Island is expected to feel the brunt of the storm's force.
The Governor already declared an emergency and shut down schools on the Big Island and Maui County. Residents started boarding up windows and buying dry goods, water, supplies, and other essentials.
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CNN reports the storm as being very organized and symmetrical. So far, a tropical storm warning has been issued to Central Oahu, Kauai Leeward, Kauai Mountains, Kauai Windward, Niihau, Oahu Koolau, Oahu North Shore, Oahu South Shore, Olomana, Waianae Coast, and Waianae Mountains.
These islands will see a minimum of 39 mph winds over the next couple days.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for Big Island Interior, Big Island North and East, Big Island Summits, Haleakala Summit, Kahoolawe, Kohala, Kona, Lanai Makai, Lanai Mauka, Leeward Haleakala, Maui Central Valley, Maui Leeward West, Maui Windward West, Molokai Leeward, Molokai Windward, South Big Island, and Windward Haleakala.
The hurricane is expected to move slowly as it weakens. Friday is the most probable day that landfall will be made.
As at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday (5 a.m. in Hawaii), the range of the hurricane cone is adapted to the American's eastward predication and the European's westward prediction.
Hawaiian Airlines and American Airlines delivered travel advisories, waiving reservation change fees to those flying between Hawaii and the mainland.
The strong risk potential of Hurricane Lane could lead to evacuation by residents. Flash flooding and high surf are a strong possibility.
The National Weather Service is urging residents to prepare "to protect life and property... failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury or loss of life."
In addition, the Department of Emergency Management has explained: "A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding." They warn, "Flash flooding is a VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION."
Lane is only the second category 5 storm to ever reach 350 miles of the island Kailua-Kona. Hurricane John in 1994 was the first.
And only 4 storms in total have passed directly over Hawaii after 1959: Hurricane Dot in 1959, Hurricane Iniki in 1992, Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014, and Tropical Storm Darby in 2016.
Meanwhile, Hawaii has been going through Mount Kilauea's eruption since early May. The lava flows stopped in early August, however.
After its impact to the Big Island, Lane is predicted to go north over Maui, Lanai, and Moloka'i according to Reuters news agency.
Other elements to be watchful for are landslides and coastal erosion due to the downpours, and 10-15 inches of rain in other areas besides those with the Hurricane Warning in effect.
The rarity of a hurricane making landfall in Hawaii is self-evident from its history. But the results of such strong storms are no stranger to the western world. Back in May, subtropical storm Alberto's damage was recorded in a horrific video.
Soon after in June, tropical storm Bud hit Mexico with wind speeds reaching 70 mph after weakening from a category 4 to a category 3 storm.