Hurricane Lane Weakens, Yet Still Pummels Hawaiian Islands With Heavy Rains

Hurricane Lane Weakens, Yet Still Pummels Hawaiian Islands With Heavy Rains

Hurricane Lane Weakens, Yet Still Pummels Hawaiian Islands With Heavy Rains

Schools and offices were closed as residents took shelter from the storm, which was downgraded to category three strength on Thursday.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for Maui and Oahu, and Kauai is under a hurricane watch at present. The archipelago's Big Island was meanwhile deluged with "catastrophic flooding", the NWS said.

There has never been a hurricane landfall in Maui or Oahu in recorded history. More than a foot of rain has already fallen.

Hurricanes rarely make landfall in Hawaii and the last major storm to strike the state was almost three decades ago, when Hurricane Iniki barreled into the island of Kauai, leaving six dead and causing billions of dollars in damage.

"Hurricane conditions are expected over some areas of Maui County and Oahu starting Friday and continuing through Friday night".

The Category 3 hurricane is set to hit the southwestern tip of Big Island, with experts predicting the storm could up to 30 inches of rainfall on Hawaii, as it ravages the Pacific islands with 145mph wind speeds.

"Hawaii Five-0" and "Magnum P.I." are halting production as Hurricane Lane draws closer to the Big Island.

The National Weather Service says early Friday that the storm has dumped more than 31 inches (78 centimetres) of rain at Hakalau Station in about 24 hours.

"It is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian islands will be directly impacted by Lane", the weather service said.

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"Hurricane Lane has resulted in stormwater runoff entering into coastal waters".

United States weather authorities said Lane had weakened slightly to a Category 4-storm but was still packing maximum sustained winds of 215kmh, threatening torrential rains, high winds and risky surf.

In Waikiki, the man-made Ala Wai Canal is likely to flood if predicted rains arrive, said Ray Alexander of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Residents were stocking up on water, food and emergency supplies as Lane was tracking some 370kmh southwest of Kailua-Kona, a town on the west coast of the Big Island.

Even if Lane does not make a direct hit on Hawaii, it could prove life-threatening.

Passengers can rebook flights scheduled through August 24 traveling to or from Seoul, Honolulu, Kona, Lihue or Maui.

Hawaii is bracing for the most powerful storm to reach the islands in 25 years.

The hurricane has already caused widespread damage.

Long said the biggest impact has been on transportation due to debris in roadways, downed power lines and damage to infrastructure, mostly on the Big Island.

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