Hurricane Lane Bears Down on Hawaii

Hurricane Lane Bears Down on Hawaii

Hurricane Lane Bears Down on Hawaii

More than 1 million people in Hawaii are already seeing the first signs of Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 cyclone that could become the first major hurricane to make landfall there in 26 years.

As of 8:34 p.m., Hurricane Lane was a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, National Weather Service meteorologist Will Pi said. The department is also coordinating with the 375,000-strong Filipino community through the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu.

More than a foot of rain has already fallen on part of the Big Island, the NWS said on Thursday.

US President Trump said he authorised an emergency disaster declaration to provide support to Hawaii.

Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico a year ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has made changes to how it works, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said on Thursday. Landfall of the hurricane is unlikely as a westward turn is forecast, but it's not impossible that the turn will happen too late and landfall will occur.

Unusually warm Pacific waters have sustained Lane, and Hawaii Governor David Ige is urging tourists to prepare for the worst.

Why is Hurricane Lane so rare?

This image provided by NASA on Wednesday shows Hurricane Lane as seen from the International Space Station. The National Weather Service says the hurricane will still pack a wallop for Hawaii on Thursday before gradually slowing over the next two days

In Maui County, damaging tropical storm-force winds could begin late Thursday and unsafe hurricane-force winds Thursday night and early Friday.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii County.

The storm is less than 300 miles south of Kailua-Kona in Hawaii, coming towards the Pacific islands from the southeast.

Big Island Civil Defense officials said Thursday morning that Lane's slow trudge - the storm is moving about 7 miles per hour - was increasing the risk of flooding.

It's no surprise the astronauts are keeping an especially close eye on the path of Hurricane Lane.

At last count there were more than 2,000 unsheltered homeless people on Oahu.

President Trump declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as meteorologists predict heavy rain may cause flooding, down trees and cut power as the slow-moving storm unleashes it's power Thursday and Friday. Most areas are expected to see 10 to 15 inches while some could get more than 20 inches of rain.

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