KAILUA-KONA — Hurricane Lane remains a Category 4 storm Wednesday evening about 260 miles south of Kailua-Kona.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for Hawaii and Maui counties and Oahu while a hurricane watch is posted for Kauai, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.
As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Lane was a Category 4 hurricane circulating 145 mph winds some 260 miles south of Kailua-Kona and 210 miles south-southwest of South Point, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 40 miles from the center of Lane and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 140 miles.
The storm was headed northwest at 7 mph. Forecasters expect turn toward the north on Thursday. A turn back toward the west is expected Saturday.
Some weakening is forecast during the next few days, but Lane is expected to remain a hurricane as it approaches the islands.
“On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands tomorrow through Friday,” forecasters cautioned.
A flash flood watch went into effect this morning for the entire state through Friday night. Forecasters cautioned that the most torrential rainfall can be expected as Lane makes its closest approach and it could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides. Tornadoes and large waterspouts will also be possible, mainly along and to the right of the track of the hurricane.
A high surf warning is also in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for south-facing shores of Hawaii Island. Wave heights of 15 to 25 feet are forecast with the largest surf expected along the island’s southern and the southeastern coasts. A storm surge of up to 4 feet in anticipated.
Meanwhile, Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers are being sent to Kona as Hurricane Lane makes its approach, Mayor Harry Kim said Wednesday.
The troops, which have been stationed in Puna amid Kilauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone eruption, were expected to arrive in Kona by 5 p.m., Kim told West Hawaii Today. The request was approved Wednesday morning by Hawaii Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara.
“We’ve moved the National Guard there because we’re still trying to make a decision in regards to should any of the projected possibilities materialize we need to act before then,” Kim said. “That decision (to act) has not been made, but it is a possibility.”
The troops will assist in any manner requested, from mass evacuation to traffic control, Kim said.
“They will be there and await requests of specific assignments,” he added.
Also Wednesday afternoon, Hawaii County Civil Defense announced the opening of emergency shelters in North Kohala, South Kohala, North Kona and South Kona due to the potential effects of Hurricane Lane. No mandatory evacuation has been ordered.
The following shelters are open:
– Hookena Elementary School, 86-4355 Mamalahoa Highway, Captain Cook
– Kamehameha Park Hisaoka Gym, 54-382 Kamehameha Park Road, Kapaau *Pet Friendly
– Kealakehe High School, 74-5000 Puohulihuli St., Kailua-Kona *Pet Friendly
– Waikoloa Elementary & Middle School, 68-1730 Hooko St., Waikoloa
Those who choose to relocate to a shelter should bring a three-day supply of medications and pet food (if applicable). Those who plan to stay overnight should bring personal blankets and pillows if possible.
– All public schools and DOE offices in Hawaii and Maui counties will be closed through Friday, according to the state Department of Education. All after-school activities programs are also canceled through the weekend. Schools and offices will reopen Monday unless otherwise noted.
– All public charter schools will be closed through Friday.
– All Kamehameha Schools campuses, preschools, community education programs and offices statewide will be closed Thursday through Sunday. KS will resume operations on Monday.
– Hawaii County officials have closed all beach parks, from South Point to North Kohala, until further notice. All pavilion and camping permits have been canceled. South Point Road, from its junction with Kamaoa Road to South Point, is closed to all traffic.
– All state parks will close Thursday morning, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said.
– All public libraries will also be closed through Friday. In addition, all library programs statewide scheduled from today to Sunday were canceled.
– State offices on the Big Island and Maui will be closed today through Friday.
– Courthouses on the Big Island will be closed today through Friday.
– All University of Hawaii schools on the Big Island also will be closed today until further notice.
– The Kahuku unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be closed today and Thursday. All programs are canceled.
– Puukohola Heiau National Historical Site is closed until further notice. Park managers will assess conditions Saturday morning before reopening the park.
– Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is closed today and Thursday. Park managers will assess conditions Friday morning before reopening the park.
– Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is closed today and Thursday. Park managers will assess conditions Friday morning before reopening the park.
– All branches of Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union are closed due to severe weather.
– The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce office will be closed Thursday. The office plans to reopen Friday or Monday, depending on the storm’s impact.
– The Maunakea Access Road is closed at the Visitor Information Station until further notice.