Published: Thu, August 23, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Hurricane Lane Strengthens to a Category 5 Storm

Hurricane Lane Strengthens to a Category 5 Storm

On Tuesday night, the National Weather Service announced that Hurricane Lane had become a Category 5 hurricane, which means that it is likely to cause catastrophic damage with winds 157 miles per hour (253 kph) or above. The data was gathered from the NOAA P-3 aircraft.

Earlier Tuesday, the weather service issued a hurricane warning for Hawaii island.

Though the storm's center is expected to remain offshore, officials are urging residents islandwide to be prepared as Lane approaches the Hawaiian Islands.

"On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday", according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

The most powerful storm on record hitting Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki, a Category 4 that made landfall on Kauai island on September 11, 1992, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hurricane watches cover Oahu and Kauai, where conditions are expected to deteriorate Thursday night into Friday morning. 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).

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

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.

Rainfall of 20 inches (51cm) in some areas could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides, the NWS said.

- State offices on the Big Island and Maui will be closed today through Friday.

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Wind shear is still expected to weaken Hurricane Lane as it approaches the state, but at the current moment, the hurricane is still at the height of its strength.

Packing sustained winds of up to 155 miles per hour, Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane.

As of late Tuesday night, tropical-storm-force winds were expected to reach some of the Hawaiian islands by Wednesday afternoon local time, according to the National Weather Service's (NWS) Honolulu bureau.

Heavy rain is moving into New England on Wednesday morning.

The service said hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area, in Hawaii County, on Thursday, while tropical storm conditions would affect the "watch" area starting Thursday. Note that the strands are clustered together where the forecast track is most confident, but they diverge where the course of the storm is less certain.

Computer models mostly do not predict the storm to make a direct hit on the islands, which would be the worst-case scenario.

Ige signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday that will provide relief for disaster damages, losses and suffering caused by Hurricane Lane.

"A lot of people are comparing the similarities between Iniki and Lane", Kauai resident Mike Miranda told the AP. Deep tropical moisture associated with Lane will spread across all islands.

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