Hawaii Braces for 'Catastrophic Flooding' and Landslides from Hurricane Lane
27 August, 2018, 13:30 | Author: Edward Snyder
Lane first approached the islands earlier this week as a Category 5 hurricane, meaning it was likely to cause catastrophic damage with winds of 157 miles per hour (252 kph) or above.
- Authorities are warning the hurricane is erratic and its forecast track can not be relied upon. And because of that, officials here fear some residents may not be taking this storm seriously.
However, as Lane weakens and slides off to the west, more rounds of heavy rain will develop behind it through the early part of next week.
Gale-force winds exceeding 200 kilometers per hour are also likely to create huge waves, sparking fears of flash flooding. Many survivors still have mental scars from those terrifying days 26 years ago, and as another major hurricane inches closer, those memories are not going away.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned in its latest advisory that Lane could produce "excessive rainfall" that would deluge the islands into the weekend, "leading to significant and life-threatening flash flooding and landslides".
Neighbor island barges are also just offshore in safe areas from the storm, ready to unload as quickly as possible. The Category 3 storm is soaking the Big Island.
The city of Hilo was waist-deep in floodwater, even as the National Weather Service downgraded Lane from a Category 2 storm to a Category 1, Reuters reported, with maximum sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
The centre of Lane will pass through the south of Kauai and Niihau on Saturday too.
Hurricane Lane will likely bring life threatening conditions across Hawaii through Saturday with damaging winds, risky surf, coastal storm surge and intense flooding rains.
It was expected to veer west, skirting the islands, but still threatened to bring heavy rains and strong, gusty winds across the state.
The hurricane has already caused widespread damage.
The outer bands of the hurricane dumped as much as 45 inches (114 centimeters) of rain on the mostly rural Big Island, the Weather Service said. Hillsides had come toppling down, blocking some roads.
Further north in Oahu, a spokesperson for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, Richard Rapoza, said businesses on Maui and Oahu, the state's most populated island, were shutting up shop in anticipation for Lane's arrival.
"People are adjusting well to it. There wasn't any water the other day when I went", Slusser said.
Coastal areas are among the most vulnerable during hurricane emergencies.
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Hotel guests in the Senggigi resort town on the west of the island were evacuated to parking lots, it said. The hardest-hit region was in the north of the island, which has suffered hundreds of aftershocks.
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Trump issues disaster declaration ahead of Lane
Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency Tuesday on Big Island to help provide relief for damage from the hurricane. He said government offices would be closed Thursday and Friday as the storm, packing heavy rains, approaches the state.