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

Hurricane Lane Looks Absolutely Massive From Space

Hurricane Lane strengthened to a Category 5 storm on Tuesday as it charged toward Hawaii where residents braced for "life threatening" winds and flooding, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

But Hurricane Lane looks poised to affect the Aloha State, and was about 480 miles southeast of Honolulu early Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, just above the Category 5 threshold.

Hurricane Lane is a Category 5 hurricane on Wednesday morning with winds of 160 miles per hour. Roofs and walls will collapse.

The latest long-range forecast places Lane within about 40 miles of O Ľahu on its closest approach on Friday afternoon (2 p.m.), August 24, as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 85 mph. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area beginning Thursday into Thursday night, with hurricane conditions possible late Thursday night into Friday. Senior Honolulu forecaster Tom Birchard says the watch for Hurricane Lane has been issued for the island of Hawaii and Maui County, which includes the island of Maui and other smaller islands.

The agency said hurricane conditions of damaging winds, damaging surf and flooding rains are possible within 36 hours.

"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.

According to NOAA's historical hurricane database, only 12 hurricanes have passed within 370 km of the major islands in the Hawaiian chain since 1950, the last of which was 2014's Hurricane Ana. The spaghetti models, which meteorologists use to visualize potential storm paths, further underscore the uncertainty.

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There are now Hurricane Warnings, Hurricane Watches and Tropical Storm Warnings posted for much of Hawaii. After Lane makes its turn to the northwest Wednesday to Thursday, track and intensity forecasts remain uncertain because of the interaction with island mountains and increasing vertical wind shear. Even if the center of Lane doesn't make landfall, the islands could be walloped with rain and wind.

Also effective Wednesday, all after-school activities and programs including interscholastic athletic events and After-School Plus (A+) Programs are canceled statewide for the remainder of the week.

The hurricane threat has forced residents to scramble to stock up on essential items such as water, toilet paper and ramen. Early indications showed that the south end of the island up to the western side would be taking the brunt of the storm.

In addition, large swells generated by Lane will impact the Hawaiian Islands this week.

With the storm's impending arrival, Judy Donovan, spokeswoman for Kona Community and Kohala hospitals, said staff has been working to ensure both facilities are ready should people need care.

"Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane", he said during a press conference.

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