Hurricane Lane Forecast to Turn Toward Hawaii with Swell, Wind, Weather Impacts

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Potential impacts of the hurricane include hazardous winds, life-threatening flooding rainfall across Maui County and Hawaii County and high surfs along the south and southeast facing shorelines.

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

The National Weather Service issues rare hurricane watches and warnings for parts of the Hawaiian Islands ahead of impacts from Hurricane Lane set to hit later this week.

The storm is now moving westward at 14 miles per hour (22 km/h) and should continue to move west over the next day or so.

The storm had been moving west, but it is expected to turn northwest toward the state Wednesday.

The gas lines were long at Costco in Kahului on Tuesday as Hurricane Lane approached the Hawaiian Islands. Lane is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated amounts greater than 20 inches over the Hawaiian Islands. This raises concerns for flash flooding and mudslides into early next week.

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Large waves are already being experienced along the eastern edge of Hawaii, with a "sizable swell already propagating out from this storm, which is now impacting the eastern exposures throughout the Hawaiian Islands, showing strongest along the Hilo Side of the Big Island", according to Jonathan Warren, lead forecaster for Surfline.com.

The forecast track will likely change some over the coming days as Lane interacts with the surrounding atmosphere and the impact from the friction that is caused as Lane nears the islands, namely the Big Island's mountains.

Data from the aircraft indicate that as of 6:20 p.m., maximum sustained winds have increased to near 160 miles per hour with higher gusts, putting Lane at Category 5 intensity. The last was Hurricane John in 1994. Only two hurricanes have made landfall in Hawaii since modern record keeping began; Hurricane Dot in 1959, and 1992's Hurricane Iniki, a category four storm that made landfall west of Kauai. Note that Note that Maui County and Hawaii County are under a hurricane watch. The central Pacific basin also just doesn't see many tropical cyclones - only about 5 per year - making it much less active than the eastern Pacific Basin, near the coast of Mexico and Central America, or the western Pacific, which sends massive typhoons crashing into Asia.

The forecast puts the storm very close to the islands, with a direct landfall possible later this week. Watches may be extended to the western islands, the Hurricane Center said. The hurricane is about 500 miles (804 kilometres) southeast of Honolulu.

NASA satellite imagery shows Hurricane Lane in the Central Pacific Ocean southeast of the Hawaiian Islands Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.

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