Cat 5 cyclone aims for Big Island

The hurricane center has posted hurricane warnings for the Big Island and Maui, where tropical-storm-force winds may begin between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

"It is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian islands will be directly impacted by Lane", the weather service said. It declares counties of "Hawai'i, Maui, Kalawao, Kaua'i and the City and County of Honolulu disaster areas for the objective of implementing emergency management functions", his office said.

On Twitter, he urged residents to prepare for the storm and said he had "never seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as with Hurricane Lane". The county will open an emergency operations command center today at the West Hawaii Civic Center.

All County offices and facilities are operational, including transfer stations and landfills.

Forecasts say the islands will face strong winds and surging waves even if the storm does not make landfall.

The University of Hawai'i at Hilo will remain closed on Thursday, August 23, 2018 for precautionary measures in anticipation of unsafe storm conditions from Hurricane Lane.

The hurricane was moving at 8 miles per hour (15 kph), said meteorologist Melissa Nye. The hurricane is about 500 miles (804 kilometers) southeast of Honolulu.

As of 8 a.m. today, the center of the storm was about 315 miles south of both Hilo and Kailua-Kona.

He said: "A lot of people are comparing the similarities between Iniki and Lane".

In other words, Lane is likely to maintain hurricane strength when it makes a close approach or direct strike on the Big Island on Thursday.

Very heavy rainfall is expected over parts of the island chain from Wednesday into the weekend, with widespread accumulations in excess of 200 mm expected - and some locally higher amounts.

The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding the public to stay off the water when hurricane or tropical storm force winds are present, and to stay clear of beaches.

Heavy rains and frequent lightning are to be expected, while strong wind gusts and large hail are possible.

All residents should review preparedness plans and take early precautionary measures at this time.

A flash flood watch goes into effect this morning for the entire state. In the event of a power failure, the hospital's 1,500 kilowatt generator can operate all hospital buildings and equipment for eight to 10 days.

Hawaiians scrambled to prepare for the storm's arrival.

"We appreciate the support and guidance from our emergency management partners as we work together to ensure the safety of our students, staff and school communities", said Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami.

  • Joey Payne