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Hurricane Lane weakens to tropical storm, but flood threat continues in Hawaii

Lane was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday, but it's still drenching Hawaii with heavy rains and dangero...

Posted: Aug 26, 2018 7:36 AM
Updated: Aug 26, 2018 7:36 AM

Lane was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday, but it's still drenching Hawaii with heavy rains and dangerous flash flooding.

The center of the storm -- about 150 miles south of Honolulu on Friday -- is not expected to come ashore though the eye wall could pass dangerously close to the central islands, including Oahu and Maui, in the coming days.

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Hurricane Harvey

But it's the Big Island of Hawaii -- the easternmost island in the chain -- that has been hammered hardest by rain. More than 35 inches fell in one spot over the past few days, causing serious flooding, landslides and road closures.

"The potential for excessive rainfall remains high, which could lead to life- threatening flash flooding, as well as land and mudslides," Honolulu's office of the National Weather Service said.

Lane will continue to pose numerous hazards across parts of the islands into the weekend, including strong winds, storm surges up to 4 feet above normal tides, and 10 to 20 inches of rain, forecasters say.

Track the storm here

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the islands have "dodged a bullet" and warned residents to remain vigilant as heavy rains still loom.

Forecasters say the storm is moving on a slow motion northwest and will move west on Saturday.

"This path will take Lane away from the islands," the weather service said.

Numerous areas were under flash flood watches

Lane's approach came as people on Maui dealt with a separate hazard: Two brush fires were burning, one that was forcing evacuations around the resort area of Lahaina.

Quiet morning in Honolulu

Honolulu had an unusually quiet Friday morning. Most stores closed at 4 p.m. HT on Thursday, and on Friday the streets were fairly empty, which is rare for Honolulu. The stray tourist could be found walking around attempting to find something open, but for the most part the streets were peaceful.

Only a few cars were driving down the main thoroughfare, Kalakaua Avenue, which backstops Waikiki Beach. Traffic was much less than usual; there were no tour buses, delivery trucks, or commercial traffic.

Most of the hotels had removed their pool furniture and sun shades, so pool areas look somewhat odd without anything surrounding them. Some hotels have their restaurants open, though seemingly operating at a very reduced staffing level.

The number of surfers and the number of big waves were down, too, when compared with Thursday.

Many tourists spent Friday afternoon getting some last beach time, as conditions were expected to deteriorate within hours.

Anticipating the storm

On Kauai, residents were waiting for the coming storm.

According to Hawaii News Now, many of them were hunkered down, having boarded up their homes and gathered supplies

"Making the kids enjoy themselves. Having family time together, just expecting the worse but hoping for the best," Crystal Battulyan, of Puhi, said.

The family had brought board games in case the power went out.

Other residents were out in the churning surf.

"Oh it's good! That's why we're here. Two days in a row," surfer Kenny Kaufman told Hawaii News Now.

'It's going to hang around for a while'

As the hurricane got closer to Hawaii, Gov. David Ige urged residents to set aside two weeks' worth of food, water and other necessities.

There have been some power outages in four counties, officials said.

Despite the flooding and landslides making headlines nationwide, some tourists were unfazed, with nearly 300,000 currently visiting the state, US Sen. Mazie Hirono said Thursday.

State and government officials prepare

State and federal officials are bracing for the storm, with Hawaii opening emergency shelters, closing some public schools for the rest of the week, and placing nonessential government workers on leave.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has prepared food, water, generators and other commodities to help with emergency resources.

Some hospitals increased their weekend staffing and postponed elective procedures and surgeries Friday and Saturday in preparation for the influx of patients expected during natural disasters

"If it's really catastrophic, you see things such as dehydration, exhaustion, infections," Dr. Leslie Chun of the Queen's Medical Center told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.

Up to 40 inches of rain expected

About 10-40 inches of rain is forecast in some areas through the weekend, which could trigger even more landslides and flash flooding.

A mix of a storm surge and waves will raise water levels up to 4 feet above normal tides along shores near Lane's center, forecasters said.

"This is expected to result in significant beach erosion and overwash onto vulnerable coastal roadways today through Saturday as Lane makes its closest approach," Ige said.

Excessive rainfall will lead to dangerous flash flooding, landslides and mudslides in areas that are already drenched. Forecasters believe the storm will turn west -- away from the islands -- but are uncertain when that will happen.

Flooding near Hilo led to voluntary evacuations, Hawaii county officials said. On one street, police and fire personnel are going house-to-house warning residents of severe flooding and recommending evacuation.

"If residents do not evacuate, first responders may not be able to reach them if the situation becomes too hazardous," the statement said.

Most of the islands, including the Big Island are under a tropical storm warning, and the islands of Kauai and Niihau are under a tropical storm watch.

Lane's landfall would be rare

The Central Pacific gets few hurricanes and tropical storms; the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific usually see many more named storms.

Hawaii is a small target in a vast ocean, and isn't often threatened. Hawaii gets a named storm within 60 miles of its coastline about once every four years on average, forecasters say.

Lane could become a further rarity if its center crosses land. Only two hurricanes have made landfall in Hawaii since the 1950s: Hurricane Dot in 1959, and Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
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Washington5280132
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Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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Sunshine continues into the work week with temperatures climbing well above average on Monday. But as clouds increase with slight rain chances into mid-week, we may see temperatures a bit cooler than average toward the end of the week.
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