Hurricane Floods Stir Rain-Hardened Hilo Residents

President Trump Declares State Of Emergency In Hawaii As Islanders Prepare For Hurricane Lane

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Big Island as well as Maui County and Oahu.

The National Hurricane Centre warned that storm surges could bring 6 metre waves and raise water levels 1 to 1.5 metres above normal along the western shores of the Big Island.

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.

Lane's current track shows the storm veering west away from the islands.

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.

"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.

A number of structures on the Big Island were destroyed and some residents were reported to be fleeing their homes, said Melissa Dye, a Weather Service spokeswoman in Honolulu.

Employees on Hawaii and Maui islands who work in disaster response as well as in hospitals and prisons are required to report to their jobs, the governor said.

United Airlines said it had canceled all Friday flights to and from Kahului airport on Maui, the second-largest island. The Big Island, which lies farthest to the east in the Hawaiian Island chain, has been the focus of a deluge of near-biblical proportions.

Yesterday [Macau time] the National Weather Service announced that Hurricane Lane had become a Category 5 hurricane, which means that it is likely to cause catastrophic damage with winds 157 miles per hour or above.

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"This is one of the worst fires we've ever had in the Lahaina area", Maui's mayor, Alan Arakawa, said publicly on Friday.

There's uncertainty to Lane's path - whether it moves north or south, meteorologist Gavin Shigesato said.

Though the storm was expected to turn west, which would lessen the threat to the islands, federal authorities urged caution.

In Honolulu's Manoa Valley neighborhood, sidewalks typically full of joggers and dog walkers were empty late on Thursday as residents stood outside their homes watching the skies, and businesses closed early for the day.

Hurricane Lane is now headed towards Hawaii and is a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The central Pacific gets fewer hurricanes than other regions, with only about four or five named storms a year.

Officials with Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources transferred about 2,000 rare Hawaiian snails from a mountain marsh to offices in Honolulu. Hawaii rarely gets hit.

CBS says that the safety of the cast and crew are the top priority and that they have been "closely monitoring the situation" since it was determined the hurricane would hit the island on Thursday afternoon.

The Trump administration's disaster response came under heavy criticism past year after a pair of hurricanes struck Florida and Puerto Rico, leaving millions without power for months on Puerto Rico.

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