Published: Tue, August 28, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Hawaii residents brace for impact as Hurricane Lane approaches

Hawaii residents brace for impact as Hurricane Lane approaches

A hurricane warning is in place for Hawaii County on the Big Island, while a hurricane watch is in effect over Maui County and all of Oahu, according to the National Weather Service.

Lane's wind speeds increased to almost 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph) as it moved west.

The hurricane was about 305 miles (490 kilometers) south of Kailua-Kona and moving northwest toward other islands.

Winds and rain from the storm are expected to hit the Big Island, then churn north over the islands of Maui, Lanai and Moloka'i, which were all under hurricane and flash flood watches.

The California Task Force 8 will be sending 35 members to Kauai before Hurricane Lane, which strengthened to a Category 5 storm early Wednesday.

As of Tuesday morning, the eye of the hurricane was located well to the southeast of the island chain, and was moving west at about 14 km/h.

But forecasts indicate Lane will turn in a more northerly direction by Wednesday, which will bring the center of storm very close to Hawaii and Maui on Thursday, the Hurricane Center said.

"We knew it was coming, so I tried to just cram as much as I could into the last few days in anticipation so we could cross things off of our list", said Brinson, who is used to hurricanes after living in Florida.

Wind speeds reached a howling 155mph (249kmh) as the hurricane moved westward at 9mph, said the US National Hurricane Centre at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in an update at around 5am local time.

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Hurricane conditions are possible in Hawaii later this week.

How soon it turns and how sharp it turns will determine how close the center gets to the islands and how much damage it will cause. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the storm's center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 120 miles.

More than two feet (60 cm) of rain had fallen in a 36-hour period by Friday night on the windward side of the island of Hawaii, popularly known as the Big Island, where the Weather Service reported "catastrophic flooding".

While hurricanes and tropical storms frequently roam close to the islands, direct hits are rare.

"We are fully stocked", she said.

"Lane is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches (250 to 380 millimetres) with isolated amounts greater than 20 inches over the Hawaiian Islands", the NWS said.

Kauai resident Mike Miranda was 12 when Hurricane Iniki devastated the island 26 years ago.

Workers at stores throughout the islands say they're bracing for an afternoon rush of people getting supplies.

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