By Associated Press - Friday, August 24, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) - The Latest on Hurricane Lane (all times local):

5 p.m.

The National Weather Service is downgrading a hurricane that has been threatening Hawaii for most of this week to a tropical storm.

But meteorologists warned Friday that heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lane could still bring more flooding and damaging winds to the island chain.

Lane was packing maximum sustained winds close to 70 mph (110 kmph) as it churned slowly west toward Oahu.

Lane dumped nearly 3 feet of rain on parts of the Big Island, triggering landslides and flooding homes. Some Maui roads suffered landslides. But Oahu residents have so far experienced wind gusts and scattered rain showers.


2:20 p.m.

The National Weather Service has downgraded Hurricane Lane to a Category 1 storm.

But meteorologist Gavin Shigesato says Hawaii isn’t yet out of the woods as the hurricane moves toward the island of Oahu on Friday.

He says it’s too early to tell if any islands are safe. He says a chance of heavy rains and strong, gusty winds remain threats statewide.

Lane is packing winds of 74 to 95 mph and is 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of Honolulu.

Wind shear is weakening the storm as the moves north. Shigesato says Lane is expected to turn west Saturday.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the islands of Oahu, Maui and other smaller islands.


1:45 p.m.

Wildlife officials have transferred about 2,000 rare Hawaiian snails from a mountain marsh to offices in Honolulu as Hurricane Lane approaches.

Some of the snails are the last of their kind, like one named George. He’s the sole remaining Achatinella apexfulva in captivity. Department of Land and Natural Resources staffers are trying to keep him safe in case he is able to reproduce.

Some snails being moved have a little more breathing room than George, with some species numbering in the teens or hundreds.

Entomologist Cynthia King says the snails are being moved because they are biologically important and have a place in Hawaiian culture.

During their stay in downtown Honolulu, they will get the royal treatment. A staffer will spend the night and place ice around the cages in case the air conditioning cuts out.


1:45 p.m.

A Big Island resident woke up to what sounded like someone rifling through her backyard, then heard water.

Margaret Collins said Friday that she looked out her bedroom window and saw water “3 feet high gushing past my window.”

She says she realized she was standing in water, which reached up to the doorknob of her front door.

Hurricane Lane has dumped nearly 3 feet of rain on the mostly rural Big Island before it started moving north toward Maui and Oahu.

Collins called a neighbor for help Thursday night. He helped her out of her house, and emergency crews then guided her out through gushing water to a shelter after the heavy rains subsided.

She says debris that rolled down the mountains seemed to clog a brook next to her house. The gushing water was so forceful it knocked down a 3-foot-high, 30-foot-long cement wall.

She spent Friday surveying the damage. She said her insurer told her it wouldn’t be covered.


12:45 p.m.

A resident says he’s trapped in his house in an exclusive neighborhood with million-dollar homes in the main town on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Joel Lawson lives in Hilo and said Friday that he can’t get out because “there’s a river at the end of our driveway.”

He heard what sounded like bricks falling Thursday night. It turned out to be strong water that made the pavement peel up and left a gaping hole.

Lawson says he watched as firefighters used ropes to pull out two people trapped in a car that got stuck in the hole.

Authorities knocked on his door and said he should voluntarily evacuate, but he’s staying put because he has electricity and food.


12:45 p.m.

Honolulu officials say a brush fire is burning near a power plant as a hurricane moves closer to the Hawaiian island.

Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Scot Seguirant says the flames reported around 11 a.m. Friday don’t threaten structures in Waianae, on the west side of Oahu.

He says it’s not known if the fire is related to Hurricane Lane but more wind would spread it quicker.

It’s burning on a dry side of Oahu that’s prone to brush fires. The only highway in and out of the west side of the island is closed in both directions because of the fire.

Two brush fires are burning on Maui, forcing people to evacuate homes and storm shelters and burning one woman on her hands and legs. She was flown to Oahu for treatment but her condition isn’t known.


12:20 p.m.

The National Weather Service says Hurricane Lane is starting to weaken as it slowly moves north toward the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu.

But Hawaii Gov. David Ige told reporters Friday that it’s still a powerful and potentially damaging storm. He says President Donald Trump called him to pledge full support from federal agencies.

He warned people to stay indoors.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says too many tourists are still swimming and surfing and are “endangering themselves.”

Authorities have closed Honolulu’s famed Waikiki Beach, but it was still packed with beachgoers and swimmers Friday.

Officials are repeating over loudspeakers: “Please get out of the water! It’s very dangerous! Thank you.”


12:20 p.m.

Officials in Maui say they are battling two brush fires as a hurricane moves closer to the Hawaiian island.

One fire forced people to leave a storm shelter and burned one woman in the tourist town of Lahaina.

Fire Battalion Chief Michael Werner said Friday that it’s not clear whether a second blaze in the bordering community of Kaanapali started because of the first blaze.

He says both fires are close to being contained but doesn’t have estimates yet on whether houses burned.

Werner says it’s starting to drizzle but “the wind is cranking” and poses problems for crews battling the flames.


11:20 a.m.

Hawaii health officials warn that Hurricane Lane has caused storm-water runoff to enter the ocean, posing possible health risks to swimmers and surfers.

The state Department of Health issued a statewide advisory Friday about brown water. Officials warn the public to stay out of floodwaters and storm-water runoff because of possible overflowing cesspools, sewers and manholes, along with chemicals, pesticides and dead animals from flood debris.

They say if the water is brown, stay out.

Dozens of people are still swimming and surfing off the famed Waikiki Beach in Honolulu despite police or fire vehicles blasting out periodic warnings that the beach is closed and everyone needs to leave.


11:20 a.m.

Hurricane Lane is forcing the cancellation of a Honolulu comic book convention this weekend.

The Hawaii Convention Center said in a statement Friday that the Amazing Comic Con will not be held at its venue on the edge of Waikiki as planned. It had been scheduled to run Friday through Sunday.

Comic artists, writers and voice actors were among those originally expected to attend.

The hurricane also is prompting the closure of schools and Honolulu’s biggest shopping malls. Public bus service on Oahu has been suspended.


9:55 a.m.

U.S. officials say a hurricane hitting Hawaii is likely to bring severe flooding and mudslides and they are preparing for the worst.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said Friday that three urban search-and-rescue teams are in the state, plus food for up to six days and at least 80 generators, with more available after the storm clears.

The agency also has plans to move supplies to the islands hit hardest after the storm. It says about 2,000 people are in shelters, mostly in Oahu.

FEMA is tracking a brush fire in Maui that forced people to evacuate a storm shelter and said dozens of Coast Guard ships and helicopters on the island are ready to assist.

It’s not clear what caused the fire, which ignited as rain and wind lashed the island.


9:55 a.m.

A woman who lives on the same street where six people were rescued from flooding as a hurricane hit Hawaii says “it was just like a torrent of water.”

Jessica Henricks said Friday that a normally low or dry creek bed on the Big Island overflowed and that water was surrounding the people who were rescued Thursday night.

She says trees and boulders blocked emergency vehicles from getting through, and officials warned neighbors to leave the area while they could.

Henricks and her family decided to stay for now. She says she’s lucky her house hasn’t flooded, though waters have receded a bit.

Hurricane Lane unleashed nearly 3 feet (1 meter) of rain over two days on the mostly rural Big Island, triggering flooding and landslides.


9:15 a.m.

Hurricane Lane has knocked out electricity to thousands of people across the Hawaiian islands.

Hawaiian Electric spokesman Peter Rosegg said Friday that about 6,000 customers in Maui’s Lahaina community have lost power, though some have had it restored.

About 2,600 customers lack power on Molokai, a small island with about 7,000 residents. Rosegg say they may be without it for a long time.

Power outages affected about 4,000 people on the Big Island, which has seen nearly 3 feet (1 meter) of rain over two days.

More than 3,000 lost power overnight on Oahu as strong winds downed tree branches, but most of them had service quickly restored.

Rosegg says crews are trying to restore power to as many as possible before the worst of the storm hits the state’s most populated island. He says workers will be out until it’s no longer safe.


8:40 a.m.

The National Guard and firefighters on the Big Island have rescued six people who were trapped in a flooded home as a hurricane unleashed torrential rain.

Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe says no one was injured during the rescue Thursday night in Hilo, the largest town on the mostly rural island.

It’s still raining on the east side of the island, where crews are busy responding to landslides. Hurricane Lane has dumped as much as 35 inches (89 centimeters) of rain over 48 hours.

Okabe says there’s waist-high flooding all over Hilo.

Hawaii County Civil Defense spokeswoman Kelly Wooten says it’s too early to tell how devastating the flooding is because it’s still occurring.

Road closures “seem to be changing by the minute.” She says when crews clear a road, landslides block other roads.


6:30 a.m.

Hurricane Lane is taking a toll on roads on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Officials say three major roads were closed Friday because of flash flooding. Numerous secondary roads also were closed.

More than 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain associated with the hurricane has fallen on the Big Island with some areas recording 35 inches (89 centimeters) in 48 hours.

Multiple landslides could force more closures. Officials say there’s currently only one highway for travel across the island.

On Oahu, winds picked up Thursday night and rain began falling shortly after the 6:13 a.m. sunrise.

On Maui, county spokesman Rod Antone says a brushfire spread to nearly 0.5 square miles (1.3 square kilometers).

He says hills and valleys of west Maui are dry and prone to burning and winds are fueling the flames.

Antone says homes may have been destroyed but that had not been confirmed.

A woman burned on the hands and legs was flown to Honolulu.


6:10 a.m.

A brushfire on Hawaii’s island of Maui has forced the relocation of a shelter for people who were staying there as Hurricane Lane approaches.

Maui County officials say there’s a rapidly spreading fire Friday in the community of Lahaina Friday on the island’s western side. Nearby residents are being evacuated.

Officials as a precaution moved 26 people who evacuated because of the hurricane from a shelter at a Lahaina school to a civic center.

Maui County spokesman Rod Antone says it’s not clear if the fire is hurricane related.


5:40 a.m.

A National Weather Service meteorologist describes flooding on Hawaii’s Big Island as catastrophic, with parts of the island soaked with 35 inches (89 centimeters) of rain in 48 hours.

Chevy Chevalier says the “the sponge is full,” meaning the ground is so wet that additional rain to will pond up and flood.

The hurricane is moving away from the Big Island but could still drop more rain there.

The hurricane center is about 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of Honolulu and moving north at 5 mph (8 kph).

Oahu island before sunrise was getting slammed with wind gusts of up to 60 mph (97 kph). Chevalier says Oahu and Maui are will face hurricane or tropical storm conditions later Friday.

Chevalier says a big concern is heavy rain flowing fast off the islands’ mountains and joining anticipated high surf and storm surge.

He says that leaves coastal areas vulnerable to flooding.


5:05 a.m.

The National Weather Service says Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane as it approaches Hawaii.

The hurricane’s maximum sustained winds are now near 110 mph (175 kph) with higher gusts.

The service says some weakening is expected Friday but that the hurricane is expected to remain dangerous as it approaches Hawaii’s islands.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe. Hawaii’s Big Island has a tropical storm warning.

The service says Lane’s center will move dangerously close to some islands later Friday and Friday night.


4:50 a.m.

Federal officials say it’s still unclear exactly how close Hurricane Lane will come to Hawaii. The storm is barreling north and was expected make a sharp Western turn, possibly passing dangerously close to the island chain.

The Category 3 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (193 kph).

Federal Emergency Management Administrator Brock Long said Friday morning at a briefing in Washington that emergency workers were focused on the safety and security of people and urged Hawaiians to heed warnings and get out of the storm’s path.

He says FEMA is ready to provide food, water and shelter. U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Meredith Austin says emergency aid and other goods have already been flown in ahead of the storm. The Coast Guard is waiting to survey any damage to ports and will prioritize vessels heading into port to get resources in quickly.

Lane was already lashing Hawaii with strong winds and rain. Emergency crews rescued five California tourists from a home they were renting in Hilo after a nearby gulch overflowed and it flooded Thursday.


2:25 a.m.

Hurricane Lane is thrashing Hawaii’s Big Island with heavy rain and strong wind gusts.

The National Weather Service says early Friday that the storm has dumped more than 31 inches (78 centimeters) of rain at Hakalau Station in about 24 hours. The service says a 67 mph (107 kph) wind gust has been recorded at Kohala Ranch on the Big Island’s northern side.

The NWS says wind gusts of 51 mph (82 kph) have been recorded on Oahu, and 49 mph (78 kph) on Maui.

The dangerous Category 3 hurricane is heading north with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (193 kph). Forecasters say it will move close to or over portions of Hawaii’s main islands late Friday.


12 a.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Lane will move close to or over parts of Hawaii’s main islands late Friday.

The dangerous Category 3 hurricane is heading north with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. It has lashed Hawaii’s Big Island with nearly 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain in about 24 hours.

Sirens wailed while workers piled sandbags in front of hotels and police blared warnings to tourists to leave the world-famous Waikiki Beach on Oahu island.

Emergency crews rescued five California tourists from a home they were renting in Hilo after a nearby gulch overflowed and it flooded Thursday.

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