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Though Hurricane Lane’s path is uncertain, it is clearly on the way in the days to come. All of the forecast models indicate that Hawaii will be affected, possibly with tropical storm force winds and rains. Whether it be residents stocking up on rice, Spam, and water or visitors being aware of the emergency exits and procedures of their accommodations, there is plenty we can do to prepare.
It’s been 26 years since Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai, lashing many parts of the Garden Isle to rubble with an impact still felt today. There have been lots of near misses during that considerable stretch of relative calm, which, in turn, have led to a prevailing sense of “no worries, it’ll miss us.” Complacency is a major concern.
Hurricane tracking is an imprecise science, but the science behind it continues to advance and become more accurate. The is a vast array of resources that have been developed in the years since Iniki’s devastation.
Hurricane Lane is on path similar to Iniki’s, a projected trajectory that would bring the most severe winds and rain to the most densely populated parts of the state. Southern and western shores are at the highest risk of sustaining the most damage from the storm.
The most popular visitor destinations on every island could be in Lane’s crosshairs, and all are advised to monitor the storm and to take the necessary precautions should power and water services be disabled. Hotels and resorts have evacuation and sheltering plans. Visitors at any hotel or resort should be aware of them.
Haleakala National Park on Maui and Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island are closed indefinitely starting Wednesday. All public beaches from South Point to Kohala in the north on the Big island are also closed indefinitely. All State Department of Education schools are closed beginning Thursday, August 23. Many will be used as emergency shelters for displaced residents and visitors.
Properties such as the Hilton Hawaiian Village have advisories and plans in place, available on their websites.
Boat tours to the USS Arizona Memorial have been suspended, and the visitor center has closed early and will remain closed until further notice.
Several airlines have offered waivers on tickets purchased before August 21, including Hawaiian Air, Alaska Air, American Air, and United. Travel insurance will cover a variety of situations if policies were bought before Hurricane Lane became a named storm on August 16.
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The ever-growing number of vacation rentals through various websites means that many Hawaii visitors will be on their own to evacuate and find shelter should Hurricane Lane make landfall in Hawaii. Thankfully, resources for preparation are abundant. For visitors in particular, it is important to have a plan in place in the event that communications infrastructure is affected.
The City & County of Honolulu has announced that a number of shelters will open on Oahu on Thursday, Thursday, August 23 at 10:00am for visitors and residents who choose or are forced to evacuate. Shelters will be open on all Neighbor Islands.
The most recent devastation from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is a chilling example of how vulnerable isolated tropical islands are to the terrible damage tropical cyclones can unleash. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and various other officials have issued statements urging Hawaii residents and visitors to prepare for Hurricane Lane.
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center is the best resource for information on Hurricane Lane’s activity. Local broadcast news stations and their online resources are also helpful, as they are at the CPHC for the latest updates and forecasts. It seems certain that Hawaii will experience the effects of Hurricane Lane, currdntlya Category 4 Hurricane. With the resources available today, there is no reason visitors or residents should find themselves in danger, wittingly or unwittingly.