The next 24 hours will be crucial ones for Hawaii, as Hurricane Lane is expected to cause widespread flooding on the islands of Maui and Oahu. And residents are hoping the storm shifts west soon.
Lane is now a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. That’s less terrifying than the Category 5 ranking it had earlier this week, but it’s still a storm that can do a lot of damage to the Aloha state, with some areas forecast to get up to 40 inches of rain.
Worse, one hurricane hunter with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the storm is not weakening as much as early predictions had forecast, which could impact its course.
Most models, including the latest from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, show the storm taking a western turn Friday night into Saturday morning. The sooner that turn happens, the less severe of an impact it will have on Hawaii. Should the storm move further north before shifting, though, things could be worse.
Regardless of when the turn happens, forecasters say widespread flooding and mudslides will be a real risk, as Lane is a slow moving storm. Parts of the Big Island (which is far out of the cone of uncertainty at this point—meaning the eye won’t even skirt the island) have seen more than 30 inches of rain and some areas are experiencing flooding.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for Maui and Oahu, and Kauai is under a hurricane watch at present.
To put the storm in perspective: Lane is the strongest hurricane to track within 300 miles of Hawaii, according to NOAA. It’s a monster as viewed from the International Space Station. And, should it come within 65 nautical miles of either Maui or Honolulu, it will be the first hurricane to do so since Hawaii became a state.