Big Island Hurricane Update

Written by on August 22, 2018

Rain bands associated with Hurricane Lane have begun moving ashore along the Big Island’s southern coast as the Category 4 storm continues its march closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

Widespread rain is expected to move over the island throughout today with Kailua-Kona likely to see effects starting in the late afternoon and evening, Chevy Chevalier, a forecaster with the Honolulu-based National Weather Service, said.

Rain has already began to fall in areas of Ka‘u and Puna.

“A lot of it is kind of being eaten up by the mountains – Mauna Loa and Maunakea, but some of these showers, of course, are going to spread on over to the Kona area,” Chevalier said late Wednesday morning. “So, as Lane moves west-northwest, you’re going to start to see more and more rain as you go through the day today, and it will be heavy at times.”

Chevalier estimated that it will take more than a day for the storm to pass Hawaii Island. Rain is likely to be the biggest concern though some wind can be expected as the storm moves by to the west of the island.

“This is just the beginning,” he said, “It will take 24-48 hours for this thing to be in a position to the north-northwest, to where the Big Island doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.”

A hurricane warning issued Tuesday evening remains in effect for Hawaii and Maui counties. A hurricane watch is in effect for Kauai and Oahu.

As of 11 a.m. today, Lane was a Category 4 hurricane circulating 155 mph winds some 295 miles south of Kailua-Kona and 235 miles south of South Point, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 40 miles from the center of Lane and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 140 miles. The day before it had hit Category 5 status.

The storm was headed west-northwest at 8 mph. Forecasters expect a turn toward the northwest on Wednesday, followed by a turn toward the north on Thursday. A turn back toward the west is expected Saturday.

Steady weakening is forecast to begin today, but the storm is expected to remain a dangerous hurricane as it approaches the islands.

Forecast ahead

Current forecast models call for 20-30 mph winds with gusts reaching 55 mph for leeward areas of Hawaii Island from North Kona to about Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Rainfall accumulations are expected to be around 6 to 10 inches although some points could see higher amounts.

Southern and southeastern areas of the island can expect 20-30 mph winds with gusts reaching 55 mph. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Rainfall could total more than 2 feet in areas of Ka‘u.

South Kohala is forecast to see 20-30 mph winds with gusts reaching up to 50 mph. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Four to 8 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, can be expected.

For areas of North Kohala and Hamakua, forecasters are expecting 20-30 mph winds with gusts to 55 mph. The potential remains for winds to reach up to 73 mph. Some 18-24 inches, with locally higher amounts, could fall as the storm passes.

A flash flood watch went into effect this morning for the entire state through Friday night. Forecasters cautioned that the most torrential rainfall can be expected as Lane makes its closest approach and it could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides. Tornadoes and large waterspouts will also be possible, mainly along and to the right of the track of the hurricane.

A high surf warning is also in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for south-facing shores of Hawaii Island. Wave heights of 15 to 25 feet are forecast with the largest surf expected along the island’s southern and the southeastern coasts. A storm surge of up to 4 feet in anticipated.

The opening of evacuation centers, if necessary, will be announced today. All county offices are open for normal operations today.

Closures announced ahead of Hurricane Lane’s arrival:

– All public schools and DOE offices in Hawaii and Maui counties will be closed today until further notice, according to the state Department of Education. Parents with pupils attending public charter and private schools are urged to contact their school for closure information.

– Hawaii County officials have closed all beach parks, from South Point to North Kohala, until further notice. All pavilion and camping permits have been canceled. South Point Road, from its junction with Kamaoa Road to South Point, is closed to all traffic. All County of Hawaii offices will be open today during normal business hours, however.

– All state parks will close Thursday morning, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said.

– All public libraries will also be closed today. In addition, all library programs statewide scheduled from today to Sunday were canceled.

– State offices on the Big Island and Maui will be closed today through Friday.

– Courthouses on the Big Island will be closed today through Friday.

– All University of Hawaii schools on the Big Island also will be closed today until further notice.

– The Kahuku unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be closed today and Thursday. All programs are canceled.

Current track