Hurricane Lane dumps torrential on Hawaii, 5 rescued from flooded home
HONOLULU (AP) — Sirens wailed while workers piled sandbags in front of hotels and police blared warnings to tourists to leave the world-famous Waikiki Beach as Hurricane Lane barrelled north after dumping nearly 2 feet of rain on Hawaii’s mostly rural Big Island.
Emergency crews rescued five California tourists from a home they were renting in Hilo after a nearby gulch overflowed and it flooded Thursday.
Suzanne Demerais said a tiny waterfall and small stream flowed near the home when she first arrived with four of her friends from the Los Angeles area.
But the stream turned into a torrent and the river rose rapidly over 24 hours.
Hawaii County firefighters, who were in touch with the home’s owner, decided to evacuate the group before the water rose further.
They floated the five out on their backs, Demerais said.
“It was quite an experience because we weren’t planning to have a hurricane during our vacation time,” Demerais said.
Hurricane Lane, whose centre was still offshore, lashed the Big Island with more than 30 inches of rain in about 24 hours.
It had maximum sustained winds near 120 miles per hour, making it a Category 3 hurricane.
A wind gust of 67 miles per hour was recorded at Kohala Ranch on the northern side of the Big Island.
Water surged through rivers and streets after Hurricane Lane dropped nearly two feet of rain on Hawaii’s Big Island in a roughly 24 hour period.
At least five people had to be rescued from a flooded house.
Forecasters said the centre of the storm will move close to or over parts of Hawaii’s main islands late Friday, bringing dangerous surf of 20 feet.
Police on loudspeakers told surfers and swimmers to get out of the water, saying the beach would be closed until further notice.
Shelters were open throughout the islands, with 350 people staying in them in Oahu.
Aid agencies were also working to help Hawaii’s sizable homeless population, many of whom live near beaches and streams that could flood.