HURRICANE LASHES HAWAII.
Even a mild hit from ‘Lane’ could do harm: experts
• Hurricane Lane soaked Hawaii’s Big Island on Thursday, dumping 30 centimetres of rain in 12 hours as residents stocked up on supplies and tried to protect their homes ahead of the state’s first hurricane since 1992.
The National Weather Service warned that some areas could see up to 76 centimetres before the system passes. Bands of rain extended 566 kilometres from the hurricane’s centre.
Lane was not projected to make direct hit on the islands, but officials warned that even a lesser blow could do significant harm.
“You do not need a direct strike to have major impacts from a hurricane this strong,” said Steve Goldstein, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington.
The centre of the Category 4 storm was predicted to move close to or over portions of the main islands later Thursday or Friday, bringing dangerous surf of seven metres and a storm surge of more than a metre, forecasters said.
Tropical storm conditions, with winds of 118 km/h, were expected to reach the Big Island, Hawaii’s easternmost major island, later Thursday, with hurricane conditions possible after that.
Pablo Akira Beimler, who lives on the coast in Honokaa on the Big Island, said the road to Hilo was cut off due to landslides.
“Rain has been non-stop for the last half-hour or so and winds are just starting to pick up,” Beimler said as he posted videos of trees being blown sideways. “Our usually quiet stream is raging right now.”
He said staying put is about the only choice he has.
“We essentially have one way in and out of our towns so sheltering in place is the priority,” Beimler said in a Twitter message.
Two campers were reported trapped overnight in Waipio Valley, along the Big Island’s northern coast. The campers called authorities Wednesday, but emergency crews could not mount a rescue operation.
“We can’t go in because the roads — there’s a river of water down there,” said Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe. Landslides had closed some roads.
In addition, there were reports of boulders falling into a park in Hilo on the east side of the island, Okabe said.
Shelters opened Wednesday on the Big Island and on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Officials urged those needing the Molokai shelter to get there soon because of concerns that the main highway on the island’s south coast could become impassable.
On the island of Oahu, shelters were scheduled to open Thursday. Aid agencies were also working to help Hawaii’s sizable homeless population.
A car sits partially submerged in floodwaters from Hurricane Lane in Hilo, Hawaii, on Thursday.