Updated 1 p.m.: Hurricane warning in effect for Maui County
Maui, Molokai, Lanai could begin experiencing damaging winds Thursday afternoon
A hurricane warning has been posted for Maui County due to Hurricane Lane, as of about 5:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, which means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours.
At 11 a.m., Lane was a Category 4 system, swirling with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, down slightly overnight. The hurricane was 285 miles south of Kailua Kona, moving west northwest at 8 mph, the National Weather Service said.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles and tropical-force winds 140 miles from the center.
Lane has started to turn toward the northwest in line with tracking forecasts and will pass “dangerously close to the Hawaiian Islands from Thursday to Saturday,” the weather service said.
After turning to the northwest later Wednesday, Lane will move to the north-northwest on Thursday, maneuvering between a ridge to the east and a developing upper-level trough northwest of the islands, the weather service said. A turn back toward the west is expected on Saturday.
The track and intensity forecasts become “increasingly uncertain” after the turn to the north-northwest with Lane beginning to interact with the islands’ mountainous terrain and vertical wind shear, the weather service said.
Because the waters remain warm enough to sustain a hurricane, any weakening will be the result of wind shear, the weather service said.
Lane still is expected to be a dangerous hurricane as it passes close to the islands. Projections have the hurricane down to 130 mph in 24 hours and to 100 mph in 48 hours, still a Category 2 system.
Regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes it’s closest approach. Impacts extend far from the center of the storm and slight changes in the forecast track this close to the islands can bring dramatic weather changes, the weather service said.
Maui County could begin experiencing damaging winds as early as Thursday afternoon with hurricane force winds possible Thursday night, the weather service said.
Bands of intense showers and thunderstorms surrounding Lane will begin to spread across the state from the southeast toward the northwest, reaching the Big Island later Wednesday morning. Excessive rainfall is possible, which could lead to deadly flash flooding, landslides and mudslides, the weather service said.
Flooding can occur even in areas not usually prone to flooding. Storm total rainfall amounts greater than 20 inches are possible.
A flash flood watch has been extended to Friday night for Maui County. Heavy rain is expected, especially along southeast- and east-facing slopes.
A swell generated by Lane will produce very large and rough surf, with dangerous rip currents along south-, southeast- and southwest-facing shores.
A high surf advisory is in effect for south-facing shores of Maui County until 6 a.m. Thursday. Surf is expected to reach 8 to 12 feet, beginning Wednesday afternoon.
Tornadoes and large waterspouts will be possible, mainly along and to the right of the track of the hurricane, the weather service said.