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Hurricane Lane Strengthens to Category 5, Hawaii Braces for 'Life-Threatening' Winds

2018-08-22 17:33
Hurricane Lane has grown into a powerful category 5 storm and is expected to bring winds of up to 160 mph as it travels closer to the U.S. islands of Hawaii, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Aug. 21. Residents are now bracing for hazardous conditions. The hurricane is expected to move "dangerously close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands" from Aug. 23 to Aug. 25, with some weakening expected over the next few days. Hawaii could experience damaging tropical storm force winds as early as Aug. 22 and dangerous hurricane force winds on the next day. Oahu and Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe, are currently on hurricane watch—which is usually issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area. Residents have been warned to prepare for the dangerous conditions that could include torrential rainfall, major flash flooding, landslides, mudslides and rough surf conditions leading to potential significant damage to coastal properties and infrastructure, including roadways, according to a NOAA warning. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," the NOAA's National Hurricane Center said. "Slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Lane is forecast to remain a dangerous hurricane as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands." Many residents have shared their experiences on social media while preparing for the storm. Any devastation caused by winds and flooding may make locations uninhabitable for weeks and authorities warned Hawaii residents to be prepared to evacuate their homes, reported Reuters. Hurricane Lane is only one of two category 5 hurricanes to pass within 350 miles of the state, according to National Weather Service database records. The last was Hurricane John in 1994.