Even a mild hit from ‘Lane’ could do harm: ex­perts

Calgary Herald - - NP - Jennifer Sinco Kelle­her

• 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.

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