Residents prepare as hurricane near Hawaii strengthens

Pablo Tucker
September 10, 2018

A powerful hurricane packing heavy rains and potentially devastating winds was headed towards Hawaii on Wednesday, and U.S. forecasters warned the storm could be the most powerful to hit the Big Island in recorded history.

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch for the island of Hawaii and Maui County, which includes the island of Maui and several smaller islands.

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's possible Oahu and Kauai may later be included in an advisory for the hurricane packing potential maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

"We are in hurricane season", Magno said.

Meteorologists said the Category 2 storm had winds of about 110 miles per hour, with stronger gusts.

"All public schools and the University of Hawaii campuses will be closed until further notice".

"Personnel in Navy Region Hawaii, including on Oahu and Kauai, should follow hurricane awareness and preparedness guidelines established by city/county and state government", the Navy said.

A number of structures on the island of Hawaii were destroyed, said Melissa Dye, a Weather Service spokeswoman in Honolulu.

Lane "shifted a little closer to the islands, unfortunately", meteorologist Melissa Dye said.

On the south side of the Big Island, workers at Mizuno Superette in Pahala also were bracing for a busy afternoon. This major category 4 hurricane is expected to make a turn towards the Hawaiian Islands this week.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is allowing non-essential state employees on the Big Island and Maui to go on administrative leave from Wednesday to Friday as Hurricane Lane approaches.

"Coastal communities should be prepared for storm surge flooding and overwash where large waves crash ashore". He also said upper level winds, called shear, tend to be strong enough to tear storms apart.

Residents have reportedly been rushing to stock up on necessities to before the storm hits.

Hawaii's governor says President Donald Trump has approved a request for emergency aid as Hurricane Lane approaches the islands. He recalled that Iniki's turn into the islands was sudden.

Record rain fell in the Washington, D.C., area on Tuesday, with Reagan National receiving 2.46 inches and Dulles seeing 2.72 inches. "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".

"We knew it was coming, so I tried to just cram as much as I could into the last few days in anticipation so we could cross things off of our list", said Brinson, who is used to hurricanes after living in Florida. On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 25.

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