Hurricane Lane drenches Hawaii


Associated Press

HONOLULU

Hurricane Lane soaked Hawaii’s Big Island on Thursday, dumping nearly 20 inches of rain in nearly 24 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 Lane will get “perilously close” to Hawaii and that some areas could see up to 30 inches before the system passes.

Lane was not projected to make a 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 center of the Category 3 storm was predicted to move close to or over portions of the main islands later Thursday or today, bringing dangerous surf of 20 feet and a storm surge of up to 4 feet, forecasters said.

Lane “shifted a little closer to the islands, unfortunately,” meteorologist Melissa Dye said. “Big Island and Maui are in the thick of it now.”

As Lane moved closer to the islands, it was expected to weaken more rapidly and turn toward the west. But it was unknown exactly when that would happen, forecasters said.

Pablo Akira Beimler, who lives on the coast in Honokaa on the Big Island, said the road to Hilo was cut off due to landslides.

“Rain has been nonstop for the last half hour or so, and winds are just starting to pick up,” Beimler said as he posted videos of trees being blown sideways. “Our usually quiet stream is raging right now.”

He said staying put is about the only choice he has.

“We essentially have one way in and out of our towns, so sheltering in place is the priority,” Beimler said in a Twitter message.

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