Hawaii braces for 'life threatening' category four hurricane


There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, however "all interests in the Hawaiian Islands, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, should continue to closely monitor the progress" of Hurricane Lane this week, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Monday morning.

The storm was packing winds of 150 miles (240 kilometers) per hour and was 620 miles (990 kilometers) southeast of Honolulu at 1500 GMT, the center said.

The watch advisory covers Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe, and Hawai'i County on the Big Island.

While there is still considerable uncertainty in the forecast for Lane, it appears the storm will be passing close enough to the islands on Thursday through Saturday to bring significant impacts to the southern portions of the islands, especially along the coastline.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Hawaii and Maui counties - meaning hurricane conditions are expected there. A tropical storm or hurricane watch could be issued for some parts of the island chain later today.

Big surf: Large swells started rolling into the Big Island on Tuesday night. By Tuesday night lane can bring the power of a tropical rainstorm on the Big island.

Longtime Hawaii residents were reminded of the destruction caused by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, which according to Hawaii News Now, made landfall on Kauai island in September of that year as a Category 4 storm with 145 miles per hour winds. Rainfall of 20 inches (51 cm) in some areas could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides, the NWS said.

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Forecasters said it was still uncertain whether the eye of the powerful hurricane would hit land in the US island chain, whose Big Island is reeling from a three-month eruption of Kilauea volcano.

Forecasters said they also expect a large swell generated form Lane to reach southeast and east-facing shores of Hawaii Island and Maui by Monday.

Little change in strength is expected through early Tuesday, with some weakening possible starting late Tuesday.

As you may have heard, Hawaii has been experiencing a volcanic eruption for much of the summer.

Hurricanes rarely make landfall in Hawaii, as the Central Pacific does not see as many storms as the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands present a small target in the vast Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Lane, earliest reasonable arrival times of tropical storm force winds. Others have come close in recent years.