Hurricane Lane soaks Hawaii's Big Island
Hurricane Lane soaked Hawaii's Big Island yesterday, dumping 12 inches of rain in as many hours as residents stocked up on supplies and tried to protect their homes ahead of the state's first hurricane since 1992.
The National Weather Service warned that some areas could see up to 30 inches (76 centimetres) before the system passes. Bands of rain extended 350 miles (566 kilometres) from the hurricane's centre.
Lane was not projected to make direct hit on the islands, but officials warned that even a lesser blow could do significant harm.
"You do not need a direct strike to have major impacts from a hurricane this strong," said Steve Goldstein, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington.
The centre of the Category 4 storm was predicted to move close to or over portions of the main islands late yesterday or today, bringing dangerous surf of 20 feet and a storm surge of up to four feet, forecasters said.
Tropical storm conditions, with winds of 73mph (118kph), were expected to reach the Big Island, Hawaii's easternmost major island, later Thursday, with hurricane conditions possible later in the day.
As of 8 a.m., the hurricane was 290 miles (466 kilometres) south of Honolulu and moving northwest at 7 mph. Maximum winds had weakened slightly to 130mph, the National Weather Service said.
After passing the islands, the system was likely to turn to the west on Saturday and Sunday and accelerate, forecasters said.
The central Pacific gets fewer hurricanes than other regions, with about only four or five named storms a year. Hawaii rarely gets hit. The last major storm to hit was Iniki in 1992. Others have come close in recent years.