Wainiha-Haena residents are being advised to evacuate the area today due to the possibility of tropical storm force winds and heavy rains.
The American Red Cross opened shelters at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center, Kilauea School and the Church of the Pacific in Princeville Wednesday night. More shelters may be opened on an as-needed basis.
“As Hurricane Lane moves nearer to Kauai, we continue to ask residents and visitors to remain vigilant and to monitor all weather updates,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.
People on Kauai can expect the closest approach of 55 to 60 miles later Friday night to Saturday morning, according to AccuWeather.
“As a caveat, there is a risk of a direct hit on any of these islands should a delay in the turn to the west occur,” said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Late Wednesday, the Category 4 hurricane was passing roughly 220 miles south of the Big Island and turned toward the northwest. It was 460 miles south-southeast of Lihue and 475 miles south-southeast of Niihau.
It was moving northwest at 8 mph with winds of 145 mph.
“Regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life-threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes its closest approach,” according the National Weather Service.
In lieu of a direct hit, “Lane has the potential of bringing the state of Hawaii serious and perhaps record damage,” Kottlowski said in an AccuWeather report.
Despite forecast weakening and a curved path by AccuWeather meteorologists over the next few days, residents and visitors of Hawaii should not let their guard down as Lane will remain a dangerous and potentially life-threatening storm.
“Satellite-derived wind data suggests shear is starting to increase over the hurricane, and this should cause the hurricane to begin the expected weakening trend,” Kottlowski said in the report.
A hurricane watch took effect for Kauai County as of 5 a.m. Wednesday, while Carvalho signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday.
A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the possible onset of hurricane conditions.
The National Weather Service issued a high surf warning for south-facing shores of Kauai and Niihau, from 6 a.m. Wednesday through 6 p.m. Friday.
Beachgoers are urged to heed all posted warnings and advisories, and stay completely out of the water on all south-facing shores. Spectators are also advised to use extreme caution, as large breaking waves could make it dangerous for those standing along the shoreline.
Additionally, a flash flood watch is in effect for Kauai through Friday night. A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Residents and visitors should monitor the weather and be prepared to take action in the event that a flash flood warning is issued.
Those who plan to go to a shelter should bring their own food, water, medicine, bedding and any other items they may need while away from home.
Due to the expected severe weather conditions this week, all county offices are closed today and Friday.
Additionally, Carvalho granted administrative leave for non-essential County of Kauai employees today and Friday.