Hurricane Lane lashes Hawaii with heavy rain, winds

A police officer monitors the water conditions and warns surfers about the conditions as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu on Thursday, August 23. (Reuters)
Updated 24 August 2018

Hurricane Lane lashes Hawaii with heavy rain, winds

  • ‘There’s lots and lots of rain, torrential rain, with a lot of moisture in the atmosphere’
  • The latest predictions showed the eye of the storm twisting west of the Big Island on Friday morning

HONOLULU: Hurricane Lane, a powerful Category 3 storm, lashed Hawaii on Thursday with high winds and torrential rain, causing flash floods, landslides and raging surf as residents hunkered down to ride out the storm.
The storm spun in the Pacific Ocean about 165 miles (260 km) southwest of Kailua-Kona and nearly 20 inches (51 cm) of rain had fallen on the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
“There’s lots and lots of rain, torrential rain, with a lot of moisture in the atmosphere,” NWS meteorologist Chevy Chevalier said, noting there were reports of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) wind gusts. “We’re in it now.”
There were no reports of injuries, but roads were closed because of flash floods and landslides in the Pacific island state. Tourists were advised to stay away from a popular attraction on the island of Maui called the Seven Sacred Pools, a scenic cluster of waterfalls and grottos.
“Life threatening flash floods. This is a very dangerous situation. Avoid unnecessary travel,” Governor David Ige said on Twitter.
Evacuations were underway on parts of Molokai and Maui islands while power outages were being reported on social media.
The latest predictions showed the eye of the storm twisting west of the Big Island on Friday morning before glancing past Maui and several other islands later in the day on its way to Oahu. But authorities warned the islands could still expect to be hit hard.
Lane shifted from heading northwest and was headed north at 6 miles per hour as the Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale was packing winds of 120 mph (195 kph), the service said in an evening advisory.
“We’re telling everybody to take the storm seriously, make your final preparations, and be prepared to ride out what is going to be a prolonged rain event,” said Andrew Pereira, communications director for the city and county of the state capital Honolulu.
The National Hurricane Center warned storm surges could raise water levels 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) above normal along the western shores of the Big Island and that extreme rainfall could mean “numerous evacuations and rescues.”
Ige has urged residents to set aside a 14-day supply of water, food and medicine. All public schools, University of Hawaii campuses and non-essential government offices on the islands of Oahu and Kauai were closed at least through Friday.
“We are in our room at Alohilani Resort waiting for Hurricane Lane to arrive,” said Janina Ballali on Twitter. “Hopefully, the hurricane will have mercy with our beloved Oahu.”
Video footage showed whipping palm trees and darkening skies in Maui. In the Manoa Valley neighborhood in Honolulu, sidewalks typically full of joggers and dog walkers were empty as residents stood outside their homes watching the skies and businesses closed early for the day.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for Hawaii and ordered federal authorities to help supplement state and local responses, the White House said on Thursday.
The Coast Guard has ordered all harbors to close to incoming vessels and the US Navy moved most of its fleet out of Pearl Harbor, where ships could provide aid after the storm.


Lithuania confirms first case of coronavirus

Updated 14 min 41 sec ago

Lithuania confirms first case of coronavirus

  • Lithuania reported on Friday its first confirmed case of coronavirus
  • Nigeria on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa

VILNIUS: Lithuania reported on Friday its first confirmed case of coronavirus, the government said, as the disease spreads rapidly worldwide.
Hopes that the virus would be contained to China vanished, with countries beginning to stockpile medical equipment and investors taking flight in expectation of a global recession.

New Zealand's health ministry on Friday also confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus in a person who recently returned from Iran.

Belarus registered the first case of coronavirus infection in the country, Russian news agency TASS reported, citing the Belarussian Ministry of Healthcare.
"We would like to inform you that February 27 tests conducted at the Republican Scientific and Practical Center of epidemiology and microbiology showed the presence of coronavirus 2019-nCoV in one of the students from Iran," TASS quoted the ministry.

In Greece, two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to three.
The health ministry said one of the cases concerned a relative of a 38 year old woman in the northern town of Thessaloniki, the first confirmed case reported in Greece. The woman had recently returned from Milan in northern Italy.
Meanwhile, Nigeria announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa.
The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan earlier this week, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a statement on Twitter.
“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” Ehanire said.
Italy has become a hotbed of infection in recent days, with the largest outbreak in Europe.
But the low number of cases across Africa, which has close economic ties with China, the epicenter of the deadly outbreak, has puzzled health specialists.