Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 cyclone, is already making an impact on the Hawaiian islands, with anticipated landfall late on Thursday or early Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm is reported to have winds up to 145 mph, and Hawaii Governor David Ige is warning residents to prepare themselves with at least 14 days of food and water and to seek shelter, CNN reported. Public transportation is being provided to help resident find shelters.
“[Hurricane] Lane will pass dangerously close to the main Hawaiian islands as a hurricane Thursday and Friday,” the NWS said. “The slow movement of Lane also greatly increases the threat for prolonged heavy rainfall and extreme rainfall totals.” There is a major flash flood warning for the Big Island through Thursday morning, and the NWS is warning of life-threatening flooding and landslides throughout the islands..
Governor Ige declared a disaster emergency relief period through August 29 on Tuesday; President Trump declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.
If the hurricane does not make landfall, it could still “pass very close” to the islands. Accuweather stated that “while direct landfall is unlikely, it still cannot be 100 percent ruled out.” Tropical storm force winds have already been reported on parts of the Big Island, measuring between 39 and 73 mph, CNN reported.
Hurricane Lane may be one of the few storms to make landfall in Hawaii decades, the last being Hurricane Iniki in 1992, according to CBS News. “It’s in the closest proximity to Hawaii that a storm of this strength has ever been,” said Janice Dean, senior meteorologist for Fox News.
Accuweather predicts that Hurricane Lane will be a slow moving storm, resulting in a long period of rain, high surf and risk of flooding. Rainfall of six to 12 inches, with a maximum of 24 inches is expected, according to Accuweather. Property damage and life risk is also likely in many parts of the islands, even without landfall.
The massive storm isn’t just foreboding on land. Photos and video taken by astronaut Ricky Arnold aboard the International Space Station show that the incredible size and strength of Hurricane Lane can even be seen from orbit.
The exact path of the storm is still uncertain, according to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. While the storm may weaken as it comes closer to the islands, residents are still preparing for the worst-case-scenario.
Travelers who had plans to visit Hawaii should note that many airlines are issuing fee waivers for changes.