Hurricane Lane's Path: Category 5 Storm Barrels Down on Hawaii

The onset of damaging tropical-storm-force winds on the Big Island could start later this evening, with risky hurricane force winds starting in the overnight hours.

The weather service says that in a Category 5 hurricane, a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed.

As Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii, three dozen people from California were preparing Wednesday to leave for the islands to help in the relief effort.

"Winds tend to steer storms away from there", said Princeton University climate scientist Gabe Vecchi. There's some uncertainty to Lane's path - whether it moves north or south, meteorologist Gavin Shigesato said.

The center said Lane's heavy rain and strong winds could bring heavy swells, flash flooding and landslides.

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

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.

Hurricane warnings and watches have been issued across Hawaii after the National Weather Service (NWS) Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu advised that Hurricane Lane has now strengthened to a Category 5 storm.

There has never been a Category 5 storm this close to the state.

The state closed all government offices on Maui and the Big Island starting Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, based in Honolulu, posted hurricane watches for the eastern Hawaiian Islands, including the Big Island and Maui, as tropical-storm force winds and heavy rain could effect those areas as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.

Officials were urging residents across the islands to prepare. Watches may be extended to the western islands, the Hurricane Center said. We will need to wait to see how fast Lane transits the Hawaiian Islands and watch for the models trending towards a more consistent solution over this time period.

The Big Island itself has only had 14 system on record pass within a one hundred mile radius.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday to put the state in position to lend support to county emergency responders.

They are also working with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and hotels to be sure visitors are informed of the hurricane and dangers that come with it. "But I remember the wind being the strongest force of nature I've ever witnessed and probably the scariest sounds I've ever heard in my life", he said.

  • Joey Payne