Wind-whipped fires burns in Maui ahead of hurricane

Clark Diaz
August 27, 2018

Hurricane Lane soaked Hawaii's Big Island on Thursday, dumping 12 inches of rain in as many hours as residents stocked up on supplies and tried to protect their homes ahead of the state's first hurricane since 1992.

"The center of Lane will remain dangerously close to portions of the central Hawaiian islands later today and tonight", Friday's update said.

It could be so devastating that authorities are urging residents to set aside two weeks' worth of food and water.

Ige revealed government offices would be closed Thursday and Friday as the storm approaches. Then 50 inches of rain were recorded in one day on Kauai, flooding parts of the island Next a slow-motion eruption of the Kilauea volcano ravaged parts of the Big Island. "Tropical storms can be very unsafe and Hawaii is not in the clear".

On Saturday, the National Weather Service warned of "life threatening" flash flooding and landslides, with the slow-moving powerful storm bearing down south of Honolulu.

Buses around Honolulu have been picking up residents in need and taking them to shelters. Now the state is facing its latest potential calamity: A Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of up to 125 miles per hour.

All of the islands are under weather alerts.

Shelters opened Wednesday on the Big Island and on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. "Exactly when this critical turn will happen is very hard to forecast, so confidence in this portion of the track is unfortunately rather low", The Pacific Hurricane Center said.

The central Pacific gets fewer hurricanes than other regions, with only about four or five named storms a year. "Just want to remind everyone to prepare to shelter in place 14 days of food and supplies and water", he said at a news conference.

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Meteorologists said the air will keep clearing through the weekend as cloudy skies and a slight chance of showers is expected. Conditions will be similar to August 18, when thick smoke forced dozens of flights and two triathlons to be cancelled.

Lane could become a further rarity if its center crosses land.

Hawaii's major airports remained open during the storm, though 22 flights were canceled at Honolulu's main airport, according to online tracking service FlightAware.com.

And inside grocery stores across the Hawaiian Islands, people are hoarding water, toilet paper and Spam.

Some were going for plywood to board their windows and for generators. In hotels, vehicle rental stands and grocery stores, longtime residents brushed off the warnings, saying "the storm always goes by us", "it's just another day", and "it's the season".

On the Big Island, cafe owner Eugene Yi shut down his business Wednesday.

Maui County spokeswoman Lynn Araki-Regan said Saturday that some people have returned but many haven't because much of the area lacks power.

"So now we're in a rush to get super safe, (and) try to get this as secure as possible".

Many others are leaving.

The biggest immediate danger was posed by flooding and mudslides that could worsen the longer the storm lingers close to the U.S. Pacific island chain, soaking the landscape.

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"That is a concern for us, that we've had a number of false alarms", said Rapoza, of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, noting that he's concerned people will think Hurricane Lane is yet another that will miss.

President Trump called Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Friday and pledged federal support.

"The approval of the Presidential Disaster Declaration means that Hawai'i will have quick and efficient access to federal resources in the wake of Hurricane Lane, as our communities and residents recover from any damage and losses caused by the storm".

"We've had a lot of near misses, so some people aren't anxious, but this one is putting me on the edge", said Patrick Manila, one of many shoppers stocking up at a Walmart in Kona on Wednesday night.

Winds were also calmer on Maui, which had seen about 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph).

The arrival of the storm's outer bands made the threat seem more real.

Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, said that the string of natural disasters this year has been a strain but that the continual preparations have helped with the state's response to Hurricane Lane.

The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Flooding, landslides as Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii
Hawaii Islands include Kauai, Oahu , Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii, which is often referred to as the Big Island. Landslides and flooding caused by the first rainstorm partially blocked several roads on Big Island, according to local media.

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