By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Even as the Kilauea volcano continues to erupt, Hawaii is facing a new natural disaster. A rare hurricane watch is in effect for large areas of the Hawaiian Islands.
Hurricane Lane, a category 5 storm with winds in excess of 150 mph, is currently hundreds of miles southeast of Hawaii. However, the storm is expected to reach the island chain later this week, according to the Weather Channel. “The island chain will see high surf, rip currents, gusty winds and increased rain no matter what path Lane takes.”
Lane is expected to weaken gradually as it turns northwestward near the Hawaiian Islands, according to Accuweather. “There is a chance that Lane will track over western parts of the Big Island then regain westward motion, which would take it close to much of the rest of the island chain.”
Residents Told to Prepare for Power Outages, Flooding and Major Travel Disruptions
"People should be prepared for power outages, coastal flooding, beach erosion, downed trees and major travel disruptions," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski warned.
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) issued the hurricane watch Tuesday morning for the Big Island and the islands of Maui, Lanai, Moloka, and Kahoolawe. “Major Hurricane Lane is still moving west but expected to make a turn toward the Hawaiian Islands later this week,” the 5 a.m. CPHC bulletin said.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Is urging residents and visitors to keep track of Lane’s progress. People should sign up for emergency email, cellphone text messages and push alerts from the city by downloading the free HNL.info app or by registering online.
“As Hurricane Lane continues to track toward Hawaii, the current forecast by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center calls for the possibility of high surf and rip currents, thunderstorms and even tropical storm force winds if the storm skirts Oahu’s Leeward Coast,” Caldwell said in a statement reported in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It’s important for residents and visitors to stay alert and stay informed.”
Oahu Residents Warned that Relief Efforts Could Take ‘Many Days’ to Reach Them
Caldwell and the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management have warned residents that relief efforts could take “many days” to reach those affected on Oahu and suggested that everyone consider disaster preparedness, including action plans for family members.
“Individuals, families and businesses should be prepared to be on their own for at least 14 days,” the city statement said in the Star-Advertiser. “Assemble basic supplies such as food, water, clothing and important medications for a 14-day kit. Also, visit our website at www.honolulu.gov/DEM for more disaster preparedness information and to access downloadable information sheets.”
Earlier this month, Hurricane Hector, a much smaller storm, passed about 150 miles south of the Big Island.