Hurricane Lane continued to intensify Monday as it churned toward the state, bringing the threat of torrential rains, strong winds and monster surf.
At 11 p.m. Monday, Lane was packing sustained winds near 150 mph with higher gusts — as a powerful Category 4 hurricane — and had an “impressive, distinct eye,” forecasters said.
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.
It’s still too early to know the precise impacts Lane could have on Hawaii.
But the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the state could see “excessive rainfall” through the weekend, strong winds and large, potentially damaging surf.
A high surf advisory is in effect for east-facing shores of those islands.
On its current track, Lane is expected to turn toward the island chain by mid-week.
“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,” the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said, in its Monday evening update. “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.”
Meanwhile, Lane is expected to weaken only “slightly” over the next several days — given warm water temperatures and weak wind shear.
— NWSHonolulu (@NWSHonolulu) August 21, 2018
Forecasters said that regardless of Lane’s eventual track and intensity, computer models are pointing to an extremely moist tropical airmass moving over the islands beginning Wednesday through the end of the week, which could lead to very heavy rainfall in some areas.
Given the potential threat from Lane, officials are urging residents to prepare “for the worst” now — when the storm is still several days out.
They’re also taking steps to prevent problems, including clearing streams and closing beach parks.