As Hurricane Lane Approaches Hawaii, the Flooding Begins


It was unclear when the system would make an expected turn west and barrel toward the island chain.

It is forecast to pass to the west of the islands over the weekend, with hurricane conditions expected from Friday night over Maui and Oahu, the US state's most populous island, the National Weather Service said.

"There's a lot of uncertainty in this forecast", warned Federal Emergency Management Administrator Brock Long.

"There's so much rain, the drainage is all saturated", said Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe. "We hope all citizens are heeding the warning that local officials are putting out".

Hurricane Lane barrelled toward Hawaii on Friday, dumping torrential rains that caused flooding on the Big Island as people stocked up on supplies and piled sandbags to shield oceanfront businesses against the increasingly violent surf. National Weather Service meteorologist Chevy Chevalier described flooding on the Big Island as catastrophic. And Pereira said the agency has set up barges full of supplies ready to be distributed. Tropical-storm-force winds persist up to 140 miles from the center.

A hurricane warning is still in effect for Oahu and Maui County, including the islands of Lanai and Molokai.

"We are the most isolated land mass on the planet, " Pereira said. So it comes down and joins the water that's coming up on the southern shores and what does that do? "There's nowhere for the water to go except to pond up and flood these areas".

Police warned tourists to leave the world-famous Waikiki Beach ahead of the storm's arrival in Honolulu. Five tourists from California were rescued from another home.

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Suzanne Demerais said a tiny waterfall and small stream flowed near the home when she first arrived with four of her friends from the Los Angeles area.

"This is not just going to be over in the next 24 hours".

Hawaii County firefighters, who were in touch with the home's owner, chose to evacuate the group before the water rose further.

"It was quite an experience because we weren't planning to have a hurricane during our vacation time", Demerais said.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Oahu and Kauai. Nearby residents were also being evacuated. Remember, during the storm 9 1 1 Emergency Services may not be able to immediately respond if conditions are unsafe.

More than 2 feet (60 cm) of rain had fallen on a couple of areas on the windward side of the Big Island, the weather service said, where peak gusts of up to 67 miles (108 km) per hour were recorded.

The storm is packing sustained winds of 209 kph.

Mount Kilauea began producing lava flows in early May and portions of the southeastern coastline of the Big Island have been transformed by the lava flows that covered over 13 square miles (35 square kilometers). Shoppers jostled with one another to get the last boxes of ramen noodles, Reuters reported.

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Brinson, a native of the United Kingdom now living in Denver, said many shops were closed, and those still open were frantic with people buying food, beer and water to take back to their rooms.

"We don't know where this storm will hit", he said.

However, the airline said it'll be running two nonscheduled "recovery" flights Thursday morning - one each out of Maui and Honolulu - to bring passengers off the islands, including those scheduled to fly out this evening.

Hawaiian Airlines cancelled all Friday flights by its commuter carrier, Ohana by Hawaiian.

The 15 airports throughout the state will remain open as long they don't suffer damage to their infrastructure or the debris "makes flight operations unsafe", the Hawaii Department of Transportation said in a statement. Hawaii rarely gets hit. Others have come close in recent years.

Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico previous year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has made changes to how it works, Fema Administrator Brock Long said on Thursday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had positioned generators, food, water and other supplies around the islands.

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