Published: Wed, August 22, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Dangerous Category 5 storm headed toward Hawaii

Dangerous Category 5 storm headed toward Hawaii

The storm was traveling west at 12 miles per hour with 150 miles per hour maximum sustained winds.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Hawaii and Maui counties. The hurricane is about 500 miles (804 kilometres) southeast of Honolulu.

Very heavy rainfall is expected over parts of the island chain from Wednesday into the weekend, with widespread accumulations in excess of 200 mm expected - and some locally higher amounts.

Unfortunately NOAA's "hurricane hunter" aircraft that flies through the center of the storm had to be grounded Tuesday morning, as it needed to be examined after "encountering strong turbulence last night" when flying through Lane, according to NOAA.

Lane's maximum sustained winds are almost 160 mph, the National Weather Service said, which will slowly weaken over the next 48 hours.

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Hawaii and Maui counties are under a hurricane watch as a Category 4 storm heads toward the state this week.

As of Monday, the storm is about 600 miles (966 kilometers) southeast of Hilo on the Big Island, or about 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) from the state's capital city of Honolulu.

Hurricane Lane is now about 450 miles south-southeast of Kaliua Kona, which is on the west side of the Big Island, or about 620 miles southeast of Honolulu, according to Leigh Anne Eaton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office. This is where the wind will be strongest and the rain to be heaviest if the forecast track doesn't change.

"As Lane moves up from the southeast, the earliest potential threat to land will be for the Big Island, where a Hurricane Warning is now in effect". It is too early to predict which, if any, of the islands will be directly impacted.

In other words, Lane is likely to maintain hurricane strength when it makes a close approach or direct strike on the Big Island on Thursday.

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"Data from the NOAA P-3 aircraft indicate that Lane has strengthened to a category 5 hurricane, and this special advisory represents an update to the current intensity, and the forecast intensity through the first 36 hours", the forecasters reported. "Even if the center of Lane were to remain offshore, it is important to remember that impacts from a hurricane can extend well away from the center".

But the hurricane centre said the storm will move very close to or over the islands between Thursday and Saturday. Deep tropical moisture associated with Lane will spread across all islands.

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Tropical-storm-force winds could arrive on Wednesday in the Big Island, and in the smaller islands by Thursday or Friday.

Hurricane Lane, most likely arrival times of tropical storm force winds.

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