Hawaii Braces for 'Dangerous' Hurricane Lane

Hawaiian residents are preparing for the worst as Hurricane Lane approaches.

Residents on the Hawaiian islands are bracing themselves for the "dangerous" Hurricane Lane, which is said to be one of the most powerful hurricanes on record to come within 300 miles of Hawaii after it reached Category 5 hurricane strength on Tuesday night.

According to the Weather Channel, Lane, which developed 1,000 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico on Aug. 14, is expected to approach Hawaii from the south later this week, a stark contrast from typical cyclones that approach the islands from east. It is not yet known how close to land Lane will get.

Although Hurricane Lane was downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday morning and is forecast to gradually weaken, experts are warning that the storm still poses significant risk to the chain of islands. It is believed that Hurricane Lane will bring heavy and potentially dangerous rainfall, with totals anticipated to reach 10 to 15 inches and more than 20 inches in isolated areas, posing the threat of flash flooding and mudslides.

"Lane has the potential of bringing the state of Hawaii serious and perhaps record damage," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

In anticipation of Lane, Hawaii's Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday afternoon, stating on Twitter that the declaration will "provide relief for disaster damages, losses and suffering" caused by Lane as well as "protect the health, safety and welfare of Hawaii residents and visitors."

Ige also urged "residents and visitors to prepare for a significant impact."

In preparation for Lane, all beaches and parks from South Point north to Kohala have been closed until further notice, and all public and charter schools on Hawaii Island and in Maui County announced that they will be closed due to the storm. The Department of Education (DOE) has also identified shelters that will be opened if necessary.

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Hurricane Lane is only the second hurricane since 2014 to pass within 200 nautical miles of the Big Island, Maui, Honolulu or Kaui, and only the fifteenth since 1950.

Lane is just the second natural disaster to hit Hawaii in recent months. Beginning in May, the Kilauea volcano began erupting, causing hundreds of earthquakes, opening fissures across the ground, and sending lava into residential areas. The volcanic activity resulted in dozens of homes being destroyed and several injuries.