Hawaii braces for Category 5 Hurricane Lane

Hurricane brings rare watches, warnings to Hawaii

Hurricane Lane is now at Category 5, the National Weather Service said Tuesday, as the storm moved closer to Hawaii.

The storm's maximum sustained winds are almost 160 mph, according to the NWS, which will slowly weaken over the next 48 hours.

As of 8 a.m. today, Lane was about 420 miles south-southeast of Hilo, 450 miles south-southeast of Kailua-Kona and 390 miles south-southeast of South Point.

Hawaii remains within that cone of uncertainty and all islands remain under a hurricane watch or warning.

Hawaii Govenor David Ige is allowing non-essential state employees on the Big Island and Maui to go on administrative leave. But they do forecast the storm to run parallel to the entire island chain, potentially sideswiping it with a formidable blow from both water and wind. Bands of heavy rain will dump as much as 20 inches moving northward across the state, according to the CPHC.

The storm may bring torrential rain, with the potential for "major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides". The governor's office issued a dire warning Wednesday morning, pleading with residents to "be prepared", to have a disaster kit on hand, and to take measures to prevent flooding on any personal property.

The centre of the storm is expected to track "dangerously" close to or over the islands Thursday through Saturday, according to an update from the NHC. In Maui County, damaging winds could begin as early as Thursday afternoon, with unsafe hurricane force winds possible starting on Thursday night.

Hurricane Lane, a powerful Category 4 storm in the Pacific Ocean, is a threat to the Hawaiian islands, forecasters say.

Maui County and Big Island schools will be closed starting Wednesday, the state Department of Education said.

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

The combination of a deep moist unstable layer and strong low level wind shear along and to the east of the track of Lane will make tornadoes and large waterspouts a distinct possibility in the rainbands across the right semicircle of the hurricane.

Hurricane watches and warnings have been posted for the Hawaiian Islands.

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

As the storm gradually tracks further under and eventually to the southwest of the Big Island look for the leading ESE-SE swell to fade across the eastern exposures into the second half of the week. Iselle was a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour before weakening into a tropical storm at landfall.

Part of the reason hurricanes are rare in Hawaii is that the state presents a pretty small target in a very big ocean.

"We have neighbors all around our house and a lot of their items are just outside, not properly secured", she said.

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