Editor's Note: Since this story was written, it's been reported by the National Weather Service that 19-inches of rain has fallen on the Big Island in a 24-hour period causing flooding and road closures in the area. Check Weather.gov for live updates.
Hawaii currently sits in the path of Major Hurricane Lane, a a powerful Category 4 storm. The National Weather Service has issued a series of warnings throughout the region.
"Major Hurricane Lane continues to inch closer to Hawaii with Hurricane Warning in effect for Hawaii County, Hurricane Watches for Maui County and Oahu and a flash flood watch for all of Hawaii," reports NOAA.
Presently on a westward track with sustained wind speeds of 130-160 mph, the storm system is expected to bring strong winds, heavy rains, large surf, flooding and mudslides throughout areas of the islands. Weakening slightly as it approaches the islands, on Tuesday night, Hurricane Lane topped out as a Category 5 storm with sustained winds an excess of 160 mph.
"If Lane moves along the southern or western portion (left side) of its forecast projected path, it would be far enough from the islands to avoid the worst wind impacts of its core, but still produce peripheral impacts: heavy rainfall, windy conditions, dangerous surf and rip currents," explained Weather.com.
"If, however, Lane turns sharp enough northwest or even north along the northern or eastern side (right side) of its forecast projected path, damaging winds from the hurricane's core could swipe parts of the islands, in addition to torrential rain from the core and more damaging coastal flooding from both the setup of battering waves and water rise for those areas prone to water rise," continued the report.
The National Weather Service office in Honolulu reports Hurricane Lane is one of only two Category 5 hurricanes to pass within 350 miles of Hawaii. The previous being Hurricane John in '94. The last storm of similar size and scope to make a direct hit on the Hawaiian islands was Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Hugely destructive, officials in Hawaii are currently taking steps to ensure that history does not repeat itself.
"Based on the scientific information and expertise available, Hawaii is in danger of being significantly impacted by Hurricane Lane, whether or not the hurricane directly hits the state. The counties of Hawaii, Maui, Kalawao, Kauai and the City and County of Honolulu are in danger of experiencing high winds, heavy rains, high surf, storm surges and flooding that threaten to harm communities and cause extensive damage to public and private property across the state," said Hawaii Governor David Ige on Facebook upon issuing an emergency proclamation ahead of the storm's landfall.
"This emergency proclamation allows us to line up services and necessary resources prior to the event so that we can keep our communities safe and running as efficiently as possible," continued Ige. "Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane. I've not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I've seen with this storm. I urge our residents and visitors to take this threat seriously and prepare for a significant impact."
"The DOE, in coordination with the American Red Cross and Hawaii County Parks and Recreation, have identified shelters in all districts that will be opened if necessary. You will be notified if any of the shelters are opened," explained the County of Hawaii Civil Defense department in a Tweet Wednesday morning.
While the storm is weakening and the forecast models vary, at present, Hurricane Lane is expected to impact Hawaii on Thursday and Friday.
At this time our thoughts and best wishes are with everyone in Hawaii as they prepare for this storm.