Hurricane Lane Looks Absolutely Massive From Space

On Tuesday morning, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, based in Honolulu, posted hurricane watches for the eastern Hawaiian Islands, including the Big Island and Maui, as tropical-storm force winds and heavy rain could effect those areas as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.

Government weather satellites are watching closely as Hurricane Lane, a massive Category 5 storm, threatens Hawaii.

As of late Tuesday night, tropical-storm-force winds were expected to reach some of the Hawaiian islands by Wednesday afternoon local time, according to the National Weather Service's (NWS) Honolulu bureau. Roofs and walls will collapse.

A storm this sprawling and powerful can bring threatening downpours and winds "well away from the center of the hurricane, and impacts could be felt on any of the islands", the National Hurricane Center said.

After hitting the Big Island, the storm is expected to move north over the islands of Maui, Lanai and Moloka'i, which were all under hurricane and flash flood watches. Iniki made landfall on Kauai as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, becoming just the second hurricane to come ashore on the islands in recorded history.

The Category 4 storm's risky center could make landfall this week, but even if it doesn't, it should draw close to the islands Thursday through Saturday, bringing destructive winds and as many as 20 inches of rain onshore, forecasters said.

Longtime Hawaii residents recalled a devastating 1992 hurricane as they prepared for Hurricane Lane.

More news: Aretha Franklin's Family To Hold Public Viewing Before Funeral

Hawaii is bracing for a rare event this week, as major Hurricane Lane tracks toward the state - the first hurricane to make such a close approach to the chain since 2014.

Regardless of Lane's exact track, the storm is likely to push "large and potentially damaging surf along exposed west, south and east facing shorelines", according to the hurricane center.

Only four named storms - two hurricanes and two tropical storms - have made landfall in Hawaii since 1959.

"Hurricane Lane is a very serious storm that has the potential to do damage and cause harm", said Tom Travis, who heads the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

The hurricane, which is forecast to begin pummeling the islands later today (Aug. 22), has already prompted the governor of Hawaii to declare a state of emergency. It is too early to predict which, if any, of the islands are directly impacted.

A swell generated by Lane could bring very large and rough surf and unsafe rip currents for south- and southeast-facing shores, the weather service said.

With the storm's impending arrival, Judy Donovan, spokeswoman for Kona Community and Kohala hospitals, said staff has been working to ensure both facilities are ready should people need care. "They're the ones rushing to the store", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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