A powerful Category 4 hurricane is barreling toward Hawaii as in expected to effect parts of the state as early as Wednesday. A new AccuWeather forecast says Hawaii may face direct hit from Hurricane Lane late this week.
As of late Monday night and into the early morning hours of Tuesday, Hawaii News Now reports Lane is "packing sustained winds near 150 mph with higher gusts — as a powerful Category 4 hurricane — and had an impressive, distinct eye, forecasters said."
Though forecasters cite that it's still too early to know the precise impact points Lane could have on Hawaii, it is expected to cause "excessive rainfall" across the state through the weekend and strong winds with potentially damaging surf, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
According to the latest updates the Cat 4 hurricane remains on a path toward Hawaii, which could be a direct hit if it makes an expected slight northwest turn:
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Lane was centered about 468 miles southeast of Hilo — or 670 miles southeast of Honolulu — and moving west at 12 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend 40 miles from the center of the storm, while tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center noted in its Monday evening update that "All of the reliable model guidance now indicates that Lane will begin to make a gradual turn to the west-northwest by Wednesday, with a gradual slowing in forward speed."
"A more decided turn toward the northwest is expected Thursday, with relatively slow-moving Lane now forecast to move dangerously close to the main Hawaiian Islands," the hurricane tracking center warned. Further worrisome is that it's predicted to weaken only "slightly" over the coming days.
The tropical Atlantic remains quiet but we're monitoring more action in the Pacific. Hurricane Lane is forecast to approach the Hawaiian Islands late this week. Tropical Storm and/or Hurricane Watches may be required for Parts of Hawaii later today.https://t.co/fM7aTXnEsz pic.twitter.com/HAd6QvGdxY— NWS (@NWS) August 20, 2018
An official hurricane watch for Hawaii is expected to be issued Tuesday, and state authorities have urged residents and tourists to be prepared and stay alert.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell made a statement on Monday, saying "It’s important for residents and visitors to stay alert and stay informed," and added, "Some people might say, 'Another hurricane, it didn't hit us last time, we don’t need to worry.' No, we got to plan for the worst and hope for the best."
Meanwhile, precautionary evacuations have already begun, with authorities on the Big Island having activated the Emergency Operation Center as of early Monday, closing several beach parks in advance of the storm. Amidst the threat of high surf beach closures include Whittington, Punaluu and Milolii.
The emergency preparations have also effected evacuees already displaced by the Kilauea volcanic eruption.
Lane is currently tracking a similar path to that of Hurricane Hector from earlier this month, which stayed safely to the south and to the West of Hawaii.