KAILUA-KONA — Hurricane Lane strengthened to a Category 5 storm Tuesday evening as it continues to make its way toward the Hawaiian Islands.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Hawaii County, while Oahu and Maui County remain under a hurricane watch.
Tropical storm conditions are possible beginning Wednesday night, with hurricane conditions possible on Thursday, forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu said Tuesday.
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Lane was a Category 5 hurricane circulating 160 mph winds some 360 miles south-southeast of Kailua-Kona, according to forecasters. The storm was headed west-northwest at 9 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center of Lane and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 140 miles.
“On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday,” forecasters said.
Excessive rainfall associated with Lane is expected to affect portions of the Hawaiian Islands from Wednesday into the weekend, leading to flash flooding and landslides. West Hawaii could begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Lane as early as Wednesday evening.
Lane is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches over the Hawaiian Islands as the storm passes. A flash flood watch goes into effect Wednesday morning for the state and will remain posted until Friday afternoon.
In addition, large swells generated by Lane will impact the Hawaiian Islands this week. A high surf warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for south-facing shores of Hawaii Island. Wave heights of 15 to 25 feet are forecast.