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Hawaii braces for ‘dangerous’ hurricane
August 24, 2018
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HONOLULU: Residents of Hawaii 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 250-kilometre-per-hour winds and was expected to reach the archipelago’s Big Island by nightfall on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump urged residents to prepare for the storm, which was expected to bring torrential rains, high winds and dangerous surf.

“Everyone in the path of #HurricaneLane please prepare yourselves, heed the advice of State and local officials, and follow @NWSHonolulu for updates. Be safe!” he tweeted.

The National Weather Service said a hurricane warning has been issued for Maui County and Hawaii County while a hurricane watch was in effect in Kauai and Oahu.

“The centre of Lane will track dangerously close to the Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday,” it said.

It added that though Lane is forecast to weaken in the next 48 hours it will remain a dangerous hurricane as it nears the Hawaiian Islands.

“Lane is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 250 to 380 millimetres with isolated amounts greater than 20 inches over the Hawaiian Islands,” the NWS said.

It added that regardless of the exact track of the storm, the state should brace for the potentially life-threatening impacts.

“It’s not a question of whether they’re going to be hit or not,” Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told a press briefing. “They’re going to see impacts from this storm.” He said the priority at this point was to ensure residents were prepared for the storm.

“Right now the priority that we have is life safety,” he said. “We are asking citizens to proactively heed all of the warning order information coming from the governor and the local county emergency management agencies within the state.” Hurricanes rarely make landfall in Hawaii and the last major storm to strike the state was nearly three decades ago, when Hurricane Iniki barrelled into the island of Kauai, leaving six people dead and causing billions of dollars in damage.

In preparation for the latest storm, state officials have closed schools and public offices in the counties affected while residents rushed to stores to stock up on water, food and other supplies. Many were also boarding up their houses.

Agence France-Presse

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