Hawaii residents brace themselves as hurricane strengthens

Hawaii residents told to brace for 150mph winds and flash flooding from Hurricane Lane

Major Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 storm, is heading toward Hawaii, forecasters warn

Longtime Hawaii residents were reminded of the destruction caused by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, which according to Hawaii News Now, made landfall on Kauai island in September of that year as a Category 4 storm with 145 miles per hour winds. The storm is moving west at 9 miles per hour.

The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding the public to stay off the water when hurricane or tropical storm force winds are present, and to stay clear of beaches.

CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB-TV describes Hurricane Lane as a "massive and rare Category 5 Central Pacific cyclone".

Unfortunately NOAA's "hurricane hunter" aircraft that flies through the center of the storm had to be grounded Tuesday morning, as it needed to be examined after "encountering strong turbulence last night" when flying through Lane, according to NOAA.

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The Category 4 storm was located about 410 miles south-southeast of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and 575 miles south-southeast of Honolulu as of the CPHC's 11 a.m. HST update.

After smashing into the Big Island, the storm is expected to head north over the islands of Maui, Lanai and Moloka'i which were all under hurricane and flash flood watches.

Hurricane Lane is now about 450 miles south-southeast of Kaliua Kona, which is on the west side of the Big Island, or about 620 miles southeast of Honolulu, according to Leigh Anne Eaton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office.

The National Park Service says Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Parks will be closed Wednesday and Thursday in anticipation of high surf, heavy winds, and rain.

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The centre of the storm is expected to track "dangerously" close to or over the islands between Thursday and Saturday, the NHC said. It is too early to predict which, if any, of the islands are directly impacted.

"The seriousness of the worst-case possibilities with Lane, and the rarity of the situation, call for an especially high level of preparation and vigilance among all Hawaiians", Weather Underground said, adding that the storm was heading towards "a potentially devastating encounter" with the state. It will weaken over the next few days but it will still be capable of causing catastrophic damage.

After a miss to the south from Hector earlier in August, Lane looks poised to, at the very least, come even closer to the island chain later this week. "Storm total rainfall amounts of 10 to 15 inches with local amounts greater than 20 inches possible".

Hurricane Lane is a Category 5 storm on Wednesday morning. "Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane".

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Hurricane Lane, hurricane force (74 mph+) wind probabilities.

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