Hurricane watch issued as Lane nears Hawaiian islands

Emergency preparedness pamphlets are available from the Maui County Civil Defense Agency

Emergency preparedness pamphlets are available from the Maui County Civil Defense Agency

Although it is not certain whether the storm, packing peak winds of 150 miles per hour, will directly strike the islands or just graze them, significant effects from rain, wind and waves are becoming increasingly likely.

Lane's center is predicted to pass close to the island of Hawaii, also known as the "Big Island", and Maui, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Watches have been issued for Hawaii and Maui counties, in the eastern part of the islands. These swells will produce large and potentially damaging surf along exposed south and west facing shorelines. "Take this one seriously", tweeted Michael Lowry, a strategic planner at FEMA and a tropical weather expert.

Lane is expected to continue heading west though tonight, however, a turn toward the northwest is expected Wednesday into Thursday.

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As of Monday, the storm is about 600 miles (966 kilometers) southeast of Hilo on the Big Island, or about 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) from the state's capital city of Honolulu.

Whether making direct landfall or not, residents on the island chain should prepare for strong winds and torrential downpours (with possible flooding) as early as Thursday morning. In Kona, on the Big Island, it cautioned that at least 4 to 8 inches of rain could fall and that winds could exceed tropical-storm force (39 mph). The storm is moving west at 9 miles per hour. This does not mean a direct hit is likely at the moment, but impacts from the storm appear more likely with most recent data.

But Hurricane Lane looks poised to bring much more significant impacts to the state, as the forecast puts the storm very close to the islands, with a direct landfall is possible later this week.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.

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However, the storm has attained an annular structure, meaning its large eye is surrounded by a single, uniform ring of thunderstorms.

Hurricane conditions could reach those areas within 48 hours.

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.

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