Sci-tech

Hurricane Lane Churns Dangerously Close to Hawaii: Tuesday Updates

Hurricane Lane Churns Dangerously Close to Hawaii: Tuesday Updates

Lane has maximum winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and is about 450 miles (725 km) southeast of Hawaii's big island.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Lane was a strong Category 4 hurricane circulating 155 mph winds some 380 miles south-southeast of Hilo and 340 miles south-southeast of South Point, according to forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

It isn't often that the islands are threatened by tropical systems, although the last storm of note was Madeline in 2016 which also caused hurricane watches and warnings to be issued for some islands. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.

Landfalling hurricanes are very rare in Hawaii, as the Central Pacific does not normally see as many storms as the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands present a very small target in the vast Pacific Ocean.

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

Rainfall of 20in (51cm) in some areas could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides, the NHC said.

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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.

While most hurricanes moving in from the east will struggle to maintain strength as they pass over the colder pool of water east of the Hawaiian Islands, the path Lane is projected to take - moving up from the south - gives it the best chance to stay organized, as warmer water does stretch closer to the islands on their south side.

The National Park Service says Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Parks will be closed Wednesday and Thursday in anticipation of high surf, heavy winds, and rain. It is too early to predict which, if any, of the islands are directly impacted. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area beginning Thursday into Thursday night, with hurricane conditions possible late Thursday night into Friday. "It is important to remember, these impacts can extend far from the center".

Only two hurricanes have made landfall in Hawaii since modern record keeping began; Hurricane Dot in 1959, and 1992's Hurricane Iniki, a category four storm that made landfall west of Kauai.

Hurricane Lane, earliest reasonable arrival times of tropical storm force winds.


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