Hurricane Lane lumbers toward Hawaii with 120 mph winds

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People watch the Wailuku River floods on the Big Island in Hilo, Hawaii. (AFP)
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The Wailuku River flood waters run downstream on the Big Island in Hilo, Hawaii. (AFP)
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Morale Welfare and Recreation employees and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam personnel go over the emergency preparation kits at the base fitness center, as Hurricane Lane approaches Hawaii. (AFP / US NAVY / Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin M. Colbert)
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Residents carry dogs through flood waters to dry land, after playing in the water briefly on the Big Island in Hilo, Hawaii. (AFP)
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A man avoids getting splashed by a large wave on a walkway along a beach ahead of Hurricane Lane in Honolulu. (AP)
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Hurricane Lane brought torrential rains to Hawaii’s Big Island and Maui before the storm was expected to hit Oahu. (AP)
Updated 25 August 2018

Hurricane Lane lumbers toward Hawaii with 120 mph winds

  • Hurricane Lane spun slowly through the Pacific toward Hawaii, losing power as it weakens to a Category 2 storm
  • More than 60 cm of rain has already fallen on a couple of areas on the windward side of the Big Island,

HONOLULU: Hurricane Lane spun in a dangerously unpredictable path Friday as it lumbered toward Hawaii, dumping rain on the mostly rural Big Island and forcing more than 1,000 people to flee to emergency shelters.
Meteorologists said the Category 3 storm had winds of about 120 mph, and it was still unclear when the system would make an expected turn west and barrel toward the island chain. Even though it was not projected to make a direct hit on Hawaii, the storm could pass close to the islands, bringing a huge storm surge, high wind and heavy rain.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in this forecast,” warned Federal Emergency Management Administrator Brock Long. “We’re going to see torrential rains occur for the next 48 to 72 hours. We hope all citizens are heeding the warning that local officials are putting out.”
Police warned tourists to leave the world-famous Waikiki Beach after nearly 2 feet (61 centimeters) of rain. So far, about 1,500 people, mostly on Oahu, were in emergency shelters, said Brad Kieserman of the American Red Cross.
Emergency crews rescued five California tourists from a home they were renting in Hilo after a nearby gulch overflowed and flooded the house.
Suzanne Demerais said a tiny waterfall and small stream were flowing near the home when she first arrived with four friends from the Los Angeles area. But the stream turned into a torrent, and the river rose rapidly over 24 hours.
Hawaii County firefighters, who were in touch with the home’s owner, decided to evacuate the group before the water rose any higher. They floated the five out on their backs, Demerais said.
“It was quite an experience because we weren’t planning to have a hurricane during our vacation time,” Demerais said.
Hurricane Lane, whose center was still offshore, lashed the Big Island with more than 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain in about 24 hours. A wind gust of 67 mph (107 kph) was recorded at Kohala Ranch on the northern side of the Big Island.
About 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Hilo, on the state’s most populated island of Oahu, employees of the Sheraton Waikiki resort filled sandbags to protect the oceanfront hotel from surging surf.
Stores along Waikiki’s glitzy Kalakaua Avenue stacked sandbags along the bottom of their glass windows to prepare for flash flooding.
Police on loudspeakers told surfers and swimmers to get out of the water, saying the beach would be closed until further notice.
The Marriott Resort Waikiki Beach in Honolulu designated a ballroom on the third floor as a shelter for guests and began removing lounge chairs from around the pool and bar area.
At the Hilton Hawaiian Village, guest Elisabeth Brinson said hotel staff left a notice that rooms will still have water and phone service, and a backup generator would power one elevator per building in the event of an electrical outage.
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 knew it was coming, so I tried to just cram as much as I could into the last few days in anticipation so we could cross things off of our list,” said Brinson, who is used to hurricanes after living in Florida.
United Airlines canceled its Friday flights to and from Maui. The airline added two more flights from Honolulu to San Francisco on Thursday to help transport people off the islands.
Hawaiian Airlines canceled all Friday flights by its commuter carrier, Ohana by Hawaiian.
Hawaii’s biggest hotels were confident they could keep their guests safe as long as they stay inside, said Mufi Hannemann, CEO of Hawaii Tourism and Lodging Association.
“The only concern is those that venture outside of the properties, that would like to hike on a day like this or who would like to still go into the ocean and see what it’s like to take a swim or surf in these kind of waters,” Hannemann said.
The National Weather Service downgraded the Big Island to a tropical storm warning, meaning it expects sustained winds of 39 mph (62 kph) to 73 mph (117 kph) on the island instead of stronger hurricane-force winds. A hurricane warning remained in effect for Oahu and Maui County.
The central Pacific gets fewer hurricanes than other regions, with about only four or five named storms a year. Hawaii rarely gets hit. The last major storm to hit was Iniki in 1992. Others have come close in recent years.
Because people in Hawaii are confined to the islands, they have to make sure they have enough supplies to outlast power outages and other potential emergencies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency moved several container ships packed with food, water, generators and other supplies into the region ahead of Hurricane Hector, which skirted past the islands more than a week ago, Long said. Warehouses were double-stocked with emergency supplies, and federal officials were working with grocers to ensure stores would have enough food.


LIVE: Davos 2020 Day One - Thunberg slams elites, Trump hails US economic rebound

Updated 30 min 50 sec ago

LIVE: Davos 2020 Day One - Thunberg slams elites, Trump hails US economic rebound

  • Discussion panels featuring a number of high profile figures from the political, business and civil world.
  • Environment and climate issues on agenda, but Iran and Lebanon expected to feature heavily

The World Economic Forum 2020 started on Tuesday in Davos in Switzerland. Greta Thunberg kicked off the three day forum in a panel discussion on Sustainable Path towards a Common Future.

There will be discussion panels featuring a number of high profile figures from the political, business and civil world.

They will discuss a wide range of subjects including the environment and climate issues, but Iran and Lebanon are expected to feature heavily.

Follow Arab News’ coverage below

13:45 - Bollywood superstar and mental health ambassador Deepika Padukone has a very honest and inspiring conversation with World Health Organization's director-general about her own experiences with mental illness and how the stigma surrounding it can be ended...

In 2017, Padukone spoke vividly about her struggle with depression and the stigma that surrounded it. She also described how she decided to speak out, so others wouldn't have to suffer in the same way she did. Watch the Crystal Awardee speaking earlier at Davos:

13:00 - Saudi Arabia's Minister for Communications and IT Abdullah Al-Swaha has been speaking on a panel about the strategic outlook for Middle East economies. He makes the salient point that if countries want their economies to grow, they must focus on youth, technology and the empowerment of women...

11:30 - US President Donald Trump reverted to his role as salesman Tuesday, telling a gathering of the world's top businessmen in the Swiss Alps that he's led a “spectacular” turnaround of the US economy and encouraged them to invest in America.

He reminded the audience that when he spoke here two years ago, early in his presidency, “I told you that we had launched the great American comeback."

“Today I’m proud to declare the United States is in the midst of an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before,” the president said.

11:00 - Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson delivered a special message from Pope Francis. He called on everyone to remember that we are all members of one human family, and that we have a moral obligation to care for one another.

And he asked for a renewed ethical approach in the forthcoming discussions, including in the discipline of economics.

10:30 - The historian Yuval Noah Harari struck a pessimistic note at the opening of this session on the technology arms race. 

"On the most shallow level it could be a repeat of the 19thcentury industrial revolution, when the leaders had the chance to dominate the world economically and politically... I understand the current arms race as an imperial arms race... You don't need to send the soldiers in if you have all the data on a country," says Harari.

10:00 - In one of the first sessions of the WEF, Greta Thunberg said the voices of science and youth need to be at the center of the conversations on environment and future during “Forging a Sustainable Path towards a Common Future” panel discussion. 

Read more on her speech hereThunberg condemns climate inaction as Trump joins Davos