Sunday, May 15, 2022 |
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Big Island newcomer Jessica Henricks said Hurricane Lane will test how her Hilo house holds up.
“The rain is on and off, torrential downpours,” she said. “The wind has not been an issue at all. We’re more concerned about the water.”
Having moved from Colorado in June, the storm is showing Henricks that her new neighbors are very adaptable.
“The people of the Big Island seem to be very resilient,” she said. “They’re familiar with nature being intense.”
People stood at a bridge to marvel at a raging Wailuku River, she said. An island in the river people hang out on that has a tree on it was completely covered.
She heard reports of flooding in downtown Hilo but she didn’t want to drive there to see for herself. “I have a small car, I don’t want to get stuck in water somewhere,” she said. “I have two children.”
Tourists were still swimming in the ocean and hanging on the beach as Hurricane Lane approached Thursday.
Hotel staff at the Marriott Resort Waikiki Beach began removing lounge chairs from around the pool as winds picked up.
Guests at the Marriott in Honolulu received advisories tucked under their doors with updates on the hurricane’s condition and path. The report advised of possible “heavy rains, flooding, high winds and high surf.”
The National Weather Service downgraded Hurricane Lane to a Category 3 storm, which means winds from 111 to 129 mph.
The Marriott Resort has designated a ballroom as a shelter for guests.
The National Weather Service says Hurricane Lane in Hawaii has been downgraded to a Category 3 storm.
Such hurricanes include winds from 111 to 129 mph and can cause major damage.
Forecasters say the storm previously shifted course Thursday and is now moving closer to Hawaii.
National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Dye said some parts of the Big Island have received 20 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.
Tourist Elisabeth Brinson says she will ride out the wind and rain on the ninth floor of the Hawaiian Hilton Village in Waikiki, where she was watching surfers and powerful waves from her balcony.
She said Thursday she was not too concerned with flooding, and hotel staff had left notices in English, Japanese and Korean that the rooms would have water and phone service.
She says a backup generator is expected to power an elevator.
The native of the United Kingdom, who now lives in Denver, said many shops were closed or filled with frantic people buying food, water and beer to take back to their rooms.
She said she knew the hurricane was coming and had crammed in as many activities as she could in the past few days.
Forecasters say Hurricane Lane has shifted course and is now moving closer to Hawaii.
National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Dye said Thursday the shift will put the Big Island and Maui “in the thick” of the hurricane.
She said some parts of the Big Island already have received 20 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.
However, she says the hurricane will weaken due to some possible terrain interaction and other factors that will begin to destroy its core. The timing of the decay was uncertain.
The hurricane is about 275 miles (445 kilometers) south of Honolulu.
Authorities say two campers are trapped in a Hawaii valley that has been hit by heavy rain from an approaching hurricane.
Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe says the campers called to report they were trapped Wednesday in Waipio Valley on the Big Island’s northern coast.
He says emergency workers haven’t been able to contact them since then because of poor cellphone reception.
He says it’s not safe for emergency crews to search for them because of landslides and rivers of rain blocking roads.
Okabe says the south shore of the Big Island is seeing 31-foot swells as Hurricane Lane approaches.
Dangerous, heavy rains and flooding are occurring in east Hawaii as Lane slows down.
Okabe says there are also reports of boulders falling in a Hilo park.
The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says the government had positioned generators and other aid in Hawaii well before the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Lane.
FEMA administrator Brock Long said Thursday the supplies arrived in Hawaii after a volcano began oozing lava into neighborhoods in May and in preparation for a recent hurricane that bypassed the islands.
After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last year, a FEMA report noted that one of its main issues was not having enough generators and other emergency aid on the island before the storm.
In response, officials stockpiled such items in hard-to-reach areas such as Hawaii and Alaska.
FEMA says the agency has been talking with grocers to make sure food sources are stocked.
Long says he doesn’t anticipate the Jones Act will to be an issue for Hawaii. The federal law requires goods to bypass the state on their way to the mainland before being shipped to Hawaii.
Federal official say Hurricane Lane remains a powerful, category 4 storm that will have a major impact on the Hawaiian islands.
Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said at a news conference Thursday that Lane had winds up to 130 mph.
It was about 300 miles south of Honolulu and expected to soak the Big Island before heading toward Maui and Oahu.
Goldstein said a direct strike is not needed to see a significant impact from such a strong hurricane.
Officials say more than 30 inches of rain is possible in some areas, which could mean flooding, dangerous surf of 20 feet, and a storm surge of up to 4 feet above normal levels.
Federal officials said they were prepared to help people on the islands.
Brad Kieserman of the Red Cross said there were 16 emergency shelters open and 283 people across the island already in them.
Torrential downpours from Hurricane Lane are soaking Hawaii’s Big Island as the storm approaches the island.
National Weather Service meteorologist Gavin Shigesato says rain gauges near Hilo had recorded 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) of rain in 12 hours as of 4 a.m. Thursday.
Parts of Maui County also seeing rain as bands of rain extended 350 miles (566 kilometers) from the hurricane’s center.
Hurricane Lane continues to move northwest and tropical storm conditions were expected to reach the Big Island later Thursday morning with hurricane conditions by nightfall.
Shigesato says the hurricane’s speed on Wednesday slowed from 9 mph to 7mph (15 kph to 11 mph).
He says the more stationary hurricane increases the threat of flash floods and landslides because of prolonged, increased rainfall.
President Donald J. Trump has issued a disaster declaration for Hawaii as residents prepare to deal with Hurricane Lane.
Trump issued the declaration on Wednesday. It authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate disaster relief efforts with the state.
Hurricane Lane was forecast to continue its northwest turn into the islands Thursday. That would make it the most powerful storm to hit Hawaii since Hurricane Iniki in 1992.
Officials opened shelters on the Big Island and the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai on Wednesday. They urged those needing to use the Molokai shelter to get there soon because of concerns the main highway could become impassable.
Three inches of rain fell in three hours on the Big Island on Wednesday.
As emergency shelters opened, rain began to pour and cellphone alerts went out, the approaching hurricane started to feel real for Hawaii residents.
Hurricane Lane was forecast to continue its northwest turn into the islands Thursday, which would make it the most powerful storm to hit Hawaii since Hurricane Iniki in 1992.
Those who lived in Hawaii when Iniki hit said they remember the “pandemonium” and were boarding up their houses and stockpiling water.
Three inches of rain fell in three hours on the Big Island on Wednesday.
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