WASHINGTON -- Hurricane Lane was a 130 mph wind speed, Category 4 storm when it hammered Hawaii’s Big Island with three feet of rain Aug. 23, but today the once-mighty hurricane has been downgraded to a much-tamer tropical storm with 65 mph winds.
The National Weather Service said Tropical Storm Lane is currently moving north-northwest near 3 mph, about 135 miles south-southwest of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The storm is expected to make a westerly turn later today, according to the NWS.
Maximum sustained winds associated with Tropical Storm Lane remain at 65 mph near the center, according to the NWS. Lane is forecast to gradually make a turn toward the west this afternoon, passing south of Kauai, one of the western inhabited Hawaiian Islands.
Earlier this week, President Donald J. Trump authorized that federal emergency aid be made available to the state of Hawaii to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions in the areas affected by Hurricane Lane, according to a Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency release.
The President's action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe. This declaration is for Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties and the City and County of Honolulu.
Hawaii earlier this week activated its emergency operations center, and Hawaii National Guard planners are working there to coordinate personnel and resources efforts.
“The National Guard is ready to support local Hawaii authorities with search and rescue, debris removal and incident awareness and damage assessments,” National Guard Bureau officials said in a statement. “If the National Guard supports storm recovery efforts, the personnel will remain on duty as long as needed.”
Although Lane will continue to weaken, the threat for flash flooding remains in the forecast through the weekend, according to the NWS. A flash flood watch continues today for all the Hawaiian Islands. The wet pattern will likely hold through the first half of next week across the western end of the state. A drying trend will gradually fill in from east to west through midweek.
The latest radar imagery showed the heaviest rainfall continuing to focus over Maui County and the Big Island this morning, with 1-3 inches of rain per hour expected during the heaviest activity, the NWS said. Later today through Sunday, the rainfall and flash flooding threat will slowly shift westward toward Oahu and Kauai.
Next week, trailing tropical rain is forecast to hold over the western end of the state through the first half of the week as Lane turns northward well west of Kauai, according to the NWS. This will keep the threat for heavy rainfall and flooding in place, mainly for Kauai and Oahu. A gradual drying trend is anticipated from east to west through midweek.
Tropical Storm Lane is forecast to make a turn toward the west and pass south of Kauai tonight, the NWS said. Heavy precipitation associated with Lane will continue to fall over the coastal waters, through the weekend.
Surf will remain elevated along exposed shores through today as Lane begins to move off to the west, according to the NWS. Heights along the south shores will likely lower into average range no later than Sunday. East shores will remain elevated beyond today due to expected strong onshore winds filling in as Lane exits.