Sci-tech

Hurricane Lane intensifies into MAJOR category 4 storm

Hurricane Lane intensifies into MAJOR category 4 storm

Hurricane Lane strengthened to a Category 5 storm on Tuesday as it headed toward Hawaii, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The data was gathered from the NOAA P-3 aircraft.

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.

Cooler and drier air will move in behind the storm.

The storm had been moving west, but it is expected to turn northwest toward the state Wednesday. The Category 4 hurricane is moving west-northwest at 9 miles per hour, the weather service said.

Forecasters say slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Lane is forecast to remain a risky hurricane as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding the public to stay off the water when hurricane or tropical storm force winds are present, and to stay clear of beaches. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or risky. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area beginning Thursday into Thursday night, with hurricane conditions possible late Thursday night into Friday. Lane is now on a track to the WNW, but is expected to take on a NW track in the next 24-36 hours, taking it toward the Hawaiian Islands through the second half of the week. Weather officials say Lane can bring 10 - 15 inches of rain in some spots, but may be higher in other areas. Honolulu, the state's largest city and capital, is on the island of O'ahu. These swells will produce large and potentially damaging surf along exposed south and west facing shorelines.

The latest long-range forecast places Lane within about 40 miles of Oʻahu on its closest approach on Friday afternoon (2 p.m.), August 24, as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 85 mph.

Lane's maximum sustained winds are almost 160 mph, the National Weather Service said, which will slowly weaken over the next 48 hours. Slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Lane is forecast to remain a risky hurricane as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

In addition to strong winds, the primary threats will be rough surf, coastal erosion, and heavy rainfall, even if the center of the storm does not move directly over the islands.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion", the National Weather Service said.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Big Island, including Hilo, and hurricane watches are in place for Maui and Oahu, including Honolulu.