Hawaii Braces for Impact of Monster Hurricane
HAWAII – August 23, 2018
Hawaii is bracing for a dangerous category four hurricane which could hit the islands as early as Wednesday evening.
Hurricane Lane was downgraded to a category four storm, with maximum sustained winds slowing to 155 mph (249km/h), but officials say it is still close to category five strength.
Forecasts say the islands will face strong winds and surging waves even if the storm does not make landfall.
The last category five storm to come this close to Hawaii was John in 1994.
Lane may weaken even further – to Category 3 – by Thursday afternoon and even fall to a Category 2 by Friday with winds up to 110 mph and its center west of Hawaii Island and south of Honolulu.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a hurricane warning for the Big Island and a hurricane watch for the islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Lanai as of Wednesday morning.
The Navy announced that ships and submarines based at Pearl Harbour will be sent out to sea where they will be "safely out of the path of the storm".
Commanders of ships that are undergoing maintainence and are unable to leave port have been authorised to drop anchor, add additional mooring and storm lines, and disconnect power cables connecting them to the shore.
According to Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll, the hurricane will deliver a combination of torrential rainfall, high winds and dangerous surf as it approaches Hawaii. A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Big Island and the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe. A hurricane watch remained in effect for Oahu and other smaller islands.
President Donald Trump urged those in the path of the storm to prepare and listen to local officials.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday to put the state in position to lend support to county emergency responders.
The state closed all government offices on Maui and the Big Island starting Wednesday. In addition, all University of Hawaii campuses were shut down on Maui and the Big Island as well as Molokai and Lanai.
Authorities warned residents of major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides, "even in areas not usually prone to flooding". Forecasts predict more than 20 inches (50cm) of rainfall.
Rip currents, rough surf, and waterspouts are also concerns along the coasts, particularly on the right side of the storm.
Hawaii generally sees about one storm strong enough to earn a name pass within 60 miles of the islands every four years.
Earlier this month, Hurricane Hector, a category four storm, followed a similar path toward Hawaii but stayed south of the islands.
The Aloha state has also seen serious volcanic eruptions this summer, with lava and ash spewing from the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island since May.