Hawaiian Islands Facing a Rare Hurricane Threat

The Hawaiian Islands are being threatened by the powerful Hurricane Lane. Direct impacts from hurricanes are rare in the Hawaiian Islands, due to the state being a needle in an ocean-sized haystack. Hurricane Expert Dr. Rick Knabb has an immediate warning for residents of Hawaii:

Carl Parker, Storm Specialist at The Weather Channel, says, “Hawaii’s most populous city, Honolulu—home to nearly one million people—is located on the southeast side of Oahu. Were Lane to make it to Oahu as a hurricane, it would be the first time in recorded history. Though the islands have been affected by more than 60 tropical cyclones since 1949, only two hurricanes have made landfall during that period.”

So how prepared is Hawaii for a hurricane like Lane? Unfortunately, there have been reports that there isn’t enough room in shelters across the islands. Authorities are asking residents who aren’t in a flood zone to stay where they are so there’s room for people who desperately need the shelter. Parker continues, “Widespread tree damage and power outages are possible, and there may be some serious structural damage as well. Because hurricane landfalls are rare in Hawaii, much of the residential construction was not built with high wind loads in mind.”

Parker warns, “Even if Lane’s eyewall does remain offshore, life-threatening flooding is possible, as are mudslides and rockslides, and there may be evacuations and water rescues. Lane’s flood threat comes as Kauai is still recovering from devastating floods in April, and what may have been the greatest 24-hour rainfall in U.S. history—49.69 inches.”

Residents of Hawaii are rushing to stores to stock up on supplies. One woman woke up early this morning to get to Costco to get gas before it even opened, only to find tens of cars waiting in line already.

People are preparing for the worst, buying cases of water, non-perishable food items and batteries, but there have been a few reports of price gouging. People on Twitter have posted pictures of cases of water selling for $18, spikes in flight prices, and more. The Department of Commerce and Consumer affairs is investigating the reports of price increases on high demand items.

Hurricane Lane is a dangerous storm that has the potential to bring devastation to Hawaii. “Whether the very worst of Lane’s wind remains over the Pacific or not, Lane poses a significant threat for Hawaii, from now into the weekend,” Parker says.

The Weather Channel will be live for 48+ hours covering Hurricane Lane and bringing you the latest information from Hawaii, where Jim Cantore and Mike Bettes are stationed. Stay safe and stay informed by watching storm coverage you can trust.