Hurricane Lane is holding its strength as a Category 4 storm as it continues to make its way toward the Hawaiian Islands.
A hurricane warning is now in effect for Hawaii County, while Oahu and Maui County remain under a hurricane watch.
Tropical storm conditions are possible beginning Wednesday night, with hurricane conditions possible on Thursday, forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu said Tuesday.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Lane was a strong Category 4 hurricane circulating 155 mph winds some 325 miles south-southeast of South Point and 385 miles south-southest of Kailua-Kona, according to forecasters. The storm was headed west-northwest at 9 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center of Lane and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 140 miles.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of hurricane-force winds. A warning is typically when hurricane conditions are expected with 36 hours.
Lane, which featured a well-developed eye, is expected to continue heading west-northwest through Tuesday night. It’s expected to make a turn toward the islands, or toward the northwest, Wednesday into Thursday. Slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Lane is forecast to remain a dangerous hurricane.
“On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday,” forecasters said.
Excessive rainfall associated with Lane is expected to affect portions of the Hawaiian Islands from Wednesday into the weekend, leading to flash flooding and landslides. Bands of intense showers and thunderstorms surrounding Lane will begin to overspread the state from south to north, reaching the Big Island late Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
Tornadoes and large waterspouts will possibly be associated with Lane, mainly along and to the right of the track of the hurricane, forecasters cautioned.
Lane is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches over the Hawaiian Islands as the storm passes. A flash flood watch goes into effect Wednesday morning for the state and will remain posted until Friday afternoon.
“Excessive rainfall is possible. which could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides. Flooding can occur even in areas not usually prone to flooding,” forecasters cautioned.
In addition, large swells generated by Lane will impact the Hawaiian Islands this week. A high surf warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for south-facing shores of Hawaii Island. Wave heights of 15 to 25 feet are forecast.
The following closures are in effect:
– Whittington and Punaluu beach parks remain closed. All pavilion and camping permits for these parks have been canceled.
– South Point Road from the Kamaoa Road junction to South Point is closed to all through traffic; open to local residents only.