Hurricane Lane strengthens to category 5 as it heads for Hawaii

Aug 23, 2018, 03:04
Hurricane Lane strengthens to category 5 as it heads for Hawaii

Hurricane Lane could bring rainfalls of close to half a metre.

A hurricane warning was issued for Maui County, which includes Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe islands.

The storm is located 315 miles south of Kailua and Kona in Hawaii and about 460 miles south-southeast of Honolulu, the capital.

Large swells generated by Lane will impact the Hawaiian Islands, beginning this morning on the Big Island, spreading across the remainder of the island chain on today.

While Lane's strength is expected to weaken slightly upon its approach to the Hawaiian islands, it was still expected to remain a risky hurricane.

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The weather service in a special statement said tropical-storm-force winds could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon or evening on the Big Island.

The National Weather Service announced that Hurricane Lane had become a Category 5 hurricane, which means it could cause catastrophic damage.

Current forecast models call for 25-35 miles per hour winds with gusts reaching 55 miles per hour for leeward areas of Hawaii Island from North Kona to about Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.

Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday to "provide relief for disaster damages, losses and suffering" caused by the hurricane.

The proclamation declares the 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.

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Lisa Bucci, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shared a video of Hurricane Lane from a research plane, noting: "It's a strong and risky storm".

Sandbags are seen near a stairway at the west end of the Sheraton Waikiki hotel in Honolulu in preparation for Hurricane Lane.

But the hurricane centre said the storm will move very close to or over the islands between Thursday and Saturday. All offices and off-campus locations will remain closed, and classes and events cancelled, including sporting events.

The weather service urges residents and visitors to keep informed about the movements of Lane and to be prepared to evacuate immediately.

Major Hurricane Lane strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane overnight, becoming only the second Cat 5 on record to pass within 350 miles of Honolulu, joining Hurricane John from back in 1994. It may take until the weekend for Lane to succumb to wind shear and weaken to a tropical storm.

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There is still a high degree of uncertainty on the forecast track and intensity of Lane. It's possible Oahu and Kauai may later be included in an advisory for the hurricane.