Torrential rain and howling winds lash Hawaii as Hurricane Lane nears

HONOLULU, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Hurricane Lane spun through the Pacific toward Hawaii on Friday, losing power and slowing as it weakened to a Category 2 storm that brought raging surf, torrential rain and catastrophic flooding to the Big Island.

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 U.S. state's most populous island, the National Weather Service said. Further north, a hurricane watch was in effect for Kauai.

"If you're in Hawaii, it's critical that you heed the warnings of local officials and stay aware of your surroundings," the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Brock Long, wrote on Twitter.

13 PHOTOS
Impact of Hurricane Lane in Hawaii
See Gallery
Impact of Hurricane Lane in Hawaii
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: Residents carry dogs through flood waters to dry land, after playing in the water briefly on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rainfall to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
This photo provided by Jessica Henricks shows flooding Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, Wailuku River near Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane brought torrential rains to Hawaii's Big Island and Maui before the storm was expected to hit Oahu. A powerful hurricane unleashed torrents of rain and landslides Thursday that blocked roads on the rural Big Island but didn't scare tourists away from surfing and swimming at popular Honolulu beaches still preparing get pummeled by the erratic storm. (Jessica Henricks via AP)
A utility line lays in the street in the Nuuanu neighborhood of Honolulu, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, as Hurricane Lane approaches. Hurricane Lane barreled 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. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
(180824) -- HONOLULU, Aug. 24, 2018 (Xinhua) -- A woman tries to walk on a seashore road while strong tides lapping the seawall at Waikiki beach in Honolulu of Hawaii, the United States, Aug. 23, 2018. Hurricane Lane, predicted as the biggest weather threat to Hawaii in decades, moved perilously close to the Aloha State Thursday morning, triggering heavy rain, landslide and flooding. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo) (dtf)PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Xinhua / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A gas station remains closed after running out of gas as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
(180824) -- HONOLULU, Aug. 24, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Aug. 23, 2018 shows strong tides lapping the seawall at Waikiki beach in Honolulu of Hawaii, the United States. Hurricane Lane, predicted as the biggest weather threat to Hawaii in decades, moved perilously close to the Aloha State Thursday morning, triggering heavy rain, landslide and flooding. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo) (dtf)PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Xinhua / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: People gather on a bridge to watch the Wailuku River flood waters on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: People watch the Wailuku River floods on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: The Wailuku River flood waters run downstream on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: Flowers stand on a bridge above the Wailuku River flood waters on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: A woman sits in a hotel restaurant as rain falls on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HILO, HI - AUGUST 23: Hilo resident Charleyn (R) holds Heali-i as they gather to view floodwaters from Hurricane Lane rainfall on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane has brought more than a foot of rain to some parts of the Big Island which is under a flash flood warning. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Hawaii state workers clean debris and open up streams around Honolulu, in preparation for heavy rainfall and flash flooding expected from Hurricane Lane on Oahu,Hawaii, August 23, 2018. - US President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Hawaii, releasing disaster funds as powerful Hurricane Lane bears down on the archipelago's Big Island. (Photo by Ronen ZILBERMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONEN ZILBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

More than 2 feet 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 per hour were recorded.

Flash floods and landslides closed some roads. Hawaii Governor David Ige said it was a very dangerous situation and urged people to avoid unnecessary travel.

Evacuations were underway on parts of Molokai and Maui islands, and some social media users reported power outages.

A fast-growing wildfire on Maui forced the evacuation of local residents and others who had sought safety at a storm shelter in Lahaina, where no rain was falling, officials said. One woman was hospitalized with burn injuries. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

Australian tourist Nicole Paterson, 27, said her birthday plans were scuppered by the storm. She has been planning to snorkel with turtles on Oahu's North Shore on Friday, and visit the Disney resort in Ko Olina, but both were shut.

38 PHOTOS
Hawaii prepares for Hurricane Lane
See Gallery
Hawaii prepares for Hurricane Lane
Nina Roberts shops for last minute supplies while shelves remain empty as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
A photo taken from the International Space Station and moved on social media by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Lane in the early morning hours near Hawaii, U.S., August 22, 2018. Courtesy @astro_ricky/NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A long line of cars wait as people fill up their vehicles with gasoline as Hurricane Lane approaches Kauai, Hawaii, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/ Sue Horton
Mark Antolin and his son load sand to fill sand bags into his truck as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
People walk along a calm Hanalei Beach as Hurricane Lane approaches Kauai, Hawaii, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Sue Horton
Luke Yamanuha loads plywood into his truck as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Paul Akamine fills propane tanks as customers line up as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Lane Endo of the Alapahoe outrigger canoe club checks their canoes after moving them off the beach to higher ground as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 21, 2018. Picture taken August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Wilder Chok gets gasoline as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 21, 2018. Picture taken August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: Local surfers, Ryan Nowak, left, and Jameson Iereneo enjoy a gorgeous day of waves unperturbed by Hurricane Lane's expected landfall in Waikiki in just two days as seen from the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort's Lagoon & Beach on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: With more than 270,000 visitors in Hawaii and the majority on Oahu, the tourists enjoy a gorgeous day at the beach unperturbed by Hurricane Lane's expected landfall in Waikiki in just two days as seen from the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort's Lagoon & Beach on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: 2018 Frank Dias, owner of Scubatech Marine Service prepare a clients 1975 Skipjack Yacht, 'Sweet Leilani,' out of Kaneohe, Hawaii for the possible impact of Hurricane Lane by doubling the tie downs at the Waikiki Yacht Club at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor in Waikiki on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hi. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: Wenkai He, left, waits his turn to fill up his 3 gallon water jug for just $1.50, while Alex Krivoulian fills three times as many water jugs at Safeway on Kapahulu in preparation for Hurricane Lane on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: Cars line up for Diesel fuel only at the Hele station on Kapahulu Avenue in preparation for the possible impact of Hurricane Lane because the station ran out of regular gas earlier on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: 2018 Brayden Nueku, 19, an employee of Frank Dias' Scubatech Marine Service removes the Icen Glass while preparing a clients 1975 Skipjack Yacht, 'Sweet Leilani,' out of Kaneohe, Hawaii for the possible impact of Hurricane Lane at the Waikiki Yacht Club at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor in Waikiki on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: 2018 A view of of the Waikiki Yacht Club member's valuable boats that have been double and triple tied and prepared as best as possible to weather the 150 mph force winds expected to hit this south shore of Oahu Island next Friday at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor in Waikiki on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: A lounge in Daniel K. Inouye International Airport sits mostly empty as Hurricane Lane approaches the island chain on August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 22: 2018 Avid SCUBA diver, Jacquelyn Wu, 30, loads steel SCUBA tanks that weigh 35 pounds each into her 81-year-old captain's car in preparation for hurricane Lane at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor in Waikiki on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hi. Hurricane Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane and remains a threat to the entire island chain. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
Hurricane Lane, upgraded to a Category 5 storm, is pictured approaching Hawaii, U.S. in this August 21, 2018 handout satellite photo obtained by Reuters August 22, 2018. NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Surfers ride waves in Waikiki beach ahead of Hurricane Lane approaching the archipielago, in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronen ZILBERMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONEN ZILBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Empty shelves of a supermaket are seen as residents of Oahu are re-stocking their water and non-perishable food supplies as preparation for the looming threat of Hurricane Lane in Oahu, Hawaii, on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronen ZILBERMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONEN ZILBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A car drives on a road under dark skies in Ocean View, Hawaii, on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronit FAHL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONIT FAHL/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo shows South Point Suds, a laudromat located on the southwestern corner of the island, boarded up in preparation for Hurricane Lane in Ocean View, Hawaii, on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronit FAHL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONIT FAHL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ocean View resident Honey Freitas gets propane tanks filled in preparation for Hurricane Lane at the Ace Hardware in Ocean View, on the southwestern corner of the island of Ocean View, Hawaii, on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronit FAHL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONIT FAHL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ocean View resident Beverly Brown stocks up on groceries in preparation for Hurricane Lane at the Ocean Market in Ocean View, on the southwestern corner of the island of Ocean View, Hawaii, on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronit FAHL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONIT FAHL/AFP/Getty Images)
A resident of Ocean View, a community located on the southwestern corner of the island of Ocean View, Hawaii, loads up his truck with water in preparation for Hurricane Lane on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronit FAHL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONIT FAHL/AFP/Getty Images)
Steve Stigall assists a customer stocking up on flashlights in preparation for Hurricane Lane at Ace Hardware in Ocean View, on the southwestern corner of the island of Ocean View, Hawaii, on August 22, 2018. - Residents of Hawaii on August 22 were bracing for a rare landfall by a powerful hurricane as they stocked up on water, food and emergency supplies. Hurricane Lane, which weakened slightly to a category 4 storm overnight, is packing 155-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to reach the archipelago's Big Island by nightfall. (Photo by Ronit FAHL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONIT FAHL/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Alapahoe outrigger canoe club move their canoes off the beach to higher ground as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 21, 2018. Picture taken August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Jean O?Neill and her daughter Ceri Godinez measure and cut wood to board up their house in Hanalei, on Kauai, Hawaii, U.S., August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Sue Horton?
Geoffrey Seidman, owner of Honolulu Beerworks, boards up his brewery as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Mike Gonsalves gathers sand from a beach to fill sand bags as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Honolulu police officer Chad Asuncion monitors the water conditions and warns surfers about the conditions as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Wilder Chok gets gasoline as Hurricane Lane approaches Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. August 21, 2018. Picture taken August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 23: 2018 Tesla put up a row of sand bags in front of each door of their international marketplace location to keep property safe from flooding as Hurricane Lane approaches Waikiki Beach on Thursday, August 23, 2018 in Honolulu, Hi. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 23: 2018 Ugg had the largest amount of sand bags to protect their Kalakaua Avenue store from flooding as any of the other stores as Hurricane Lane approaches Waikiki Beach on Thursday, August 23, 2018 in Honolulu, Hi. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 23: 2018 The Royal Hawaiian Center closes early on Thursday as a precaution are to keep people and property safe as Hurricane Lane approaches Waikiki Beach on Thursday, August 23, 2018 in Honolulu, Hi. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
Michael and Paris Mendina, visiting from Sacramento, take a photo of the store closure sign due to Hurricane Lane, as a momento from their visit to Oahu Thursday, August 23, 2018. - Hurricane Lane was downgraded to a Category 3 Thursday August 23, but the storm's slow motion threatened Hawaii with days of rain. Parts of the Big Island were soaked with more than a foot of rain Thursday. (Photo by Ronen ZILBERMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read RONEN ZILBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - AUGUST 23: 2018 The threat of Hurricane Lane does not deter New York visitors, Valerie Wahl, left, and her sons Leo Wahl, 7, and Ian Wahl, 9, or Mike Baker from Arizona from watching the waves crash against the rocks after sunset as Hurricane Lane approaches Waikiki Beach on Thursday, August 23, 2018 in Honolulu, Hi. (Photo by Kat Wade/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

'TAKE THE STORM SERIOUSLY'

While Lane was downgraded on Friday to Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, it still packed maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (170 kph), the service said. A Category 5 is the strongest hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

As of 8 a.m. Hawaii time (2 p.m. EDT/1800 GMT), Lane was moving north at just 2 mph (3 kph) and was about 170 miles (274 km) south of state capital Honolulu, the weather service said. It was forecast to turn west on Saturday, lose some of its punch and move more quickly.

The latest predictions from the weather service's National Hurricane Center showed the eye of the storm glancing past Maui and several other islands on Friday on its way toward Oahu.

"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 Honolulu.

In addition to "life-threatening and damaging surf," the weather service has warned that 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.

Governor Ige has urged residents to set aside a 14-day supply of water, food and medicine. All public schools, University of Hawaii campuses and nonessential government offices on the islands of Oahu and Kauai were closed at least through Friday.

The Coast Guard had ordered all harbors to close to incoming vessels and the Navy moved most of its fleet out of Pearl Harbor, where ships could provide aid after the storm.

Oil company Par Pacific Holdings Inc said it had shut its 93,500 barrel-per-day refinery in Kapolei.

In the event of outages, Hawaii's power company, Hawaiian Electric Co, will largely be in charge of restoring power, FEMA's Long told reporters, adding that the company is well prepared to fix any problems to the energy grid.

The federal government will be responsible for getting equipment and teams from the continental United States to locations where they are needed, he said.

"We need to set the expectations that the power could go off for quite some time, and the infrastructure's going to be heavily impacted," said Long.

(Reporting by Jolyn Rosa Additional reporting by Diane Craft in Kailua, Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Makini Brice in Washington, Alex Dobzinskis in Los Angeles and Gabriella Borter in New York; Writing by Daniel Wallis Editing by Alistair Bell and Rosalba O'Brien)

Read Full Story