Hurricane Lane strengthens to category 5 as it heads for Hawaii

Hurricane Lanes path takes it northwest toward the Hawaiian Islands over the next couple days

After smashing into the Big Island, the storm is expected to head north over the islands of Maui, Lanai and Moloka'i which were all under hurricane and flash flood watches.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Lane was a strong Category 4 hurricane circulating 155 mph winds some 380 miles south-southeast of Hilo and 340 miles south-southeast of South Point, according to forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

"We don't know where this storm will hit", he said.

NASA satellite imagery shows the hurricane is now in the Central Pacific Ocean southeast of the islands.

"On its forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday Saturday".

The latest forecast model indicates Lane will remain a very strong, and risky storm and will maintain on its current track through tonight, turning further northwest Wednesday.




"Regardless of what happens in the eye of the hurricane, there's going to be the potential for a lot of rain - 10-15 inches, perhaps even higher than that", Doll said. "A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Maui County, and is now posted for Oʻahu, with tropical-storm force winds possibly beginning Thursday or Thursday night".

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Life-threatening weather conditions can extend well away from the center of the hurricane and interests throughout Hawaii are urged to closely monitor the progress of Lane over the next few days. These are two of of only ten tropical cyclones on record to make landfall on one of the islands.

Ige granted administrative leave for nonessential state employees in Hawaii and Maui counties, and state offices on the Big Island and Maui will be closed today, Thursday and Friday.

A satellite image shows Hurricane Lane in the Central Pacific Ocean on Wednesday. Tropical storms, on the other hand, sweep by the islands much more regularly, frequently as the dying remnants of a more-intense system from the eastern Pacific. Mount Kilauea began producing lava flows in early May and portions of the southeastern coastline of the Big Island have been transformed by the lava flows which covered over 13 square miles (35 square kilometers). Wave heights and currents typically increase before a storm makes landfall. Notice how they are largely clustered to the south and southeast of the state.

Eaton said the impacts of the hurricane could stretch through most of Hawaii, potentially affecting over a million people.

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