There have been a lot of hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific, none of which hit the west coast. There have been an average to somewhat below average number of hurricanes in the Atlantic. Predictions that this would be a slightly above-average Atlantic season have been replaced by predictions that it will be a slightly below average season, given the high (ca 75%) chance of an El Nino forming later in the year.
Meanwhile, it is easy to forget that the United States spans a third hurricane basin. Hawaii is out there in the middle of the Pacific, but in an area that Hurricanes actually tend to avoid.
But not right now. Hurricane Lane is likely to either directly strike or come very close to one or more of the islands of Hawaii, as a Category 4 hurricane.
The details are complicated because Lane is turning around the same time that the storm is bearing down on the island state. Below is the current info from the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Lane is centered as of 2 a.m. HST (8 a.m. EDT) about 230 miles (370 km) south-southwest of Kailua-Kona and about 335 miles (540 km) south of Honolulu. On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands later today through Friday. Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts – a powerful category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some weakening is forecast during the next day or so, with more significant weakening thereafter. Lane is expected to remain a hurricane as it approaches the islands.
A Hurricane Warning continues for Oahu, Maui County (including the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe) and Hawaii County. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion this morning. A Hurricane Watch continues for Kauai County, including the islands of Kauai and Niihau.
Here are the latest KEY MESSAGES:
1. Lane will pass dangerously close to the main Hawaiian Islands as a hurricane Thursday and Friday, and is expected to bring damaging winds. These winds can be accelerated over and downslope from elevated terrain, and will be higher in high rise buildings.
2. The slow movement of Lane also greatly increases the threat for prolonged heavy rainfall and extreme rainfall totals. This is expected to lead to life-threatening flash flooding and landslides over all Hawaiian Islands.
3. Large and damaging surf can be expected along exposed shorelines, especially along south and west facing coasts, with localized storm surge exacerbating the impacts of a prolonged period of damaging surf.
4. Do not focus on the exact forecast track or intensity of Lane, and be prepared for adjustments to the forecast. Although the official forecast does not explicitly indicate Lane’s center making landfall over any of the islands, this could still occur. Even if the center of Lane remains offshore, severe impacts could still be realized as they extend well away from the center.
For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by the National Weather Service office in Honolulu – www.prh.noaa.gov/pr/hnl/
The next complete advisory will be issued by NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu at 5 a.m. HST (11 a.m. EDT)