The storm has been downgraded to Category 2 but is still inflicting major damage throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Originally published on August 22, this story was updated on Friday, August 24, to include new details about Hurricane Lane.
Even though Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, its outer bands have caused catastrophic rain, flash floods, and landslides on Hawaii’s Big Island.
While it appears that the storm will track far enough off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands to not to make landfall, The Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s website still currently has a hurricane warning for Maui and Oahu. Its latest update has a warning that reads, “SLOW-MOVING LANE CONTINUING TO BRING FLOODING RAINFALL AND STRONG GUSTY WINDS TO PARTS OF HAWAII.”
According to the National Weather Service, over 30 inches of rain were recorded at one station on the Big Island while parts of Hilo were completely submerged under water.
In addition to the flooding in Hilo, two brush fires have broken out in Lahaina, in western Maui. It’s unclear whether the fires are related to the storm, officials have been forced to shut the roads in and out of West Maui and evacuate people from their homes in some areas, according to Maui Now.
Original Post August 22, 2018: Even though the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than usual this year, Hurricane Lane—a category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds as of the morning of August 22—is barreling toward the Hawaiian Islands and could possibly make landfall later this week. The last time a hurricane made landfall in Hawaii was when Iniki hit Kauai in 1992.
The National Weather Service has issued hurricane warnings for the Big Island, Maui, and a few other smaller islands. Oahu and Kauai are currently only under hurricane watches. Although it is still unclear whether the storm will make landfall, tropical storm force winds are expected to arrive on the Big Island as early as Wednesday evening. A flash flood watch will remain in effect for all of the Hawaiian Islands through the night of Friday, August 24.
As locals prepare for the storm by gathering food and water, Honolulu city officials and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are telling tourists to not cancel their plans just yet, but to track the storm, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.
George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said on Tuesday that it’s too soon to know what will happen with Hurricane Lane.
“Visitors should stick to their plans right now, but as always the safety and the welfare of residents and our visitors is always top priority,” Szigeti told KITV. “We’re on a daily call with HI-EMA and the National Weather Service is giving us direction.”
Updates will be made to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s website throughout the week. So far, its alert advises travelers to “contact their airlines, accommodations, and activity providers for information on being prepared and make adjustments to travel plans as needed.”
5am: #Lane is a category 4 storm this morning as it continues WNW toward the state. Maui County has been upgraded to a Hurricane Warning, and a Hurricane Watch has been issued for Kauai County. Visit https://t.co/fUefWa9aTA for a full list of current watches and warnings #hiwx pic.twitter.com/dTBe4b8TUt— NWSHonolulu (@NWSHonolulu) August 22, 2018
The major airlines that fly to and from Hawaii have all issued travel waivers so that people can rebook their flights for free in anticipation of the potentially historic storm.
Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines are allowing those with tickets booked to or from the Hawaiian Islands from August 21 through August 26 to make a one-time reservation change with no fee for travel on or before September 9, 2018.
Travel waivers by American Airlines and Delta cover flights to and from airports in Hawaii scheduled August 23 to August 24 and can be rebooked for free on flights from August 21 through August 27, 2018.
Alaska Airlines is allowing travelers with flights booked to and from Hawaii between August 22 and August 25 to rebook their flights for free for travel on or before August 30, 2018. Alaska Airlines passengers can also request a refund for their tickets if they choose to not to travel at all.
This post will be updated as Hurricane Lane progresses, but for the most up-to-date information, visit the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s website.