Hawaii's Hurricane Lane weakens to Category 4 - but still powerful

Hawaii's Hurricane Lane weakens to Category 4 - but still powerful

Hawaii's Hurricane Lane weakens to Category 4 - but still powerful

The National Weather Service announced that Hurricane Lane had become a Category 5 hurricane, which means it could cause catastrophic damage.

As of 5am local time (4pm BST) on Tuesday, Hurricane Lane had reached 315 miles (505km) south of Kailua-Kona - it is now located between 18 and 36 hours away. Roofs and walls will collapse.

Hurricane Watches have been issued for Hawaii and Maui counties, in the eastern part of the islands. "Regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life-threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes it's [sic] closest approach".

Meteorologist Gavin Shigesato said: "It is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian islands will be directly impacted by Lane".

A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Maui County, and is now posted for Oahu, with tropical-storm force winds possibly beginning Thursday or Thursday night.

All public and charter schools and Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) offices on Hawaii Island and in Maui County will be closed Wednesday, Aug. 22, until further notice, in anticipation of unsafe storm conditions from Hurricane Lane.

A hurricane warning is usually made about 36 hours before tropical-storm-force are expected to hit a location.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles. Rain of this magnitude raises the risk of flash flooding and landslides.

The National Weather Service issued severe weather warnings for Northern Utah and Southwest Wyoming on Wednesday morning as flooding in Southern Utah continues.

Powerful Hurricane Lane weakened slightly as it swirls towards Hawaii but U.S. forecasters warn that its heavy rains and life-threatening winds still pose a major threat to the Pacific island chain.

Even if the center of Lane doesn't make landfall, the islands could be walloped with rain and wind.

After signing an emergency proclamation for disaster relief, Gov. David Ige said, "I urge our residents and visitors to take this threat seriously and prepare for a significant impact".

Rain bands from Hurricane Lane will begin moving ashore on the Puna and Ka'u districts late this morning. These swells will produce large and potentially damaging surf along exposed west, south and east facing shorelines. South Point Road, from its junction with Kamaoa Road to South Point, is closed to all traffic.

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