When the news informing the world about the threatening heavy rain, flash flooding, and high tides came in, Hawaii residents rushed to the grocery stores to stock up on bottled waters, toilet paper, and non-perishable food items. The erratic hurricane is expected to shake close to the islands or pass directly over them. If either of these outcomes happens, lives and property are at risk.
On Tuesday, August 21, the National Weather Service issued out a warning that Hurricane Lane had turned into a Category 5 hurricane. This level means that if the island comes in contact with the storm, it will likely cause catastrophic damage. The storm is, however, expected to gradually weaken as it approaches the islands.
Wind speeds are expected to be around 150 m.p.h. or more. As of Tuesday night, the hurricane was about 500 miles southeast of Honolulu, according to MSN.
Hawaii Governor David Ige has issued out an emergency proclamation in advance stating that some schools are being shut down. However, he has made an update late Tuesday night saying that all schools will be closed.
"CORRECTION: All PUBLIC SCHOOLS and HIDOE offices on Hawaii Island and in Maui County will be closed Wednesday, Aug. 22, until further notice," he wrote.
"Families of students in charter schools are asked to contact their schools directly to learn about closures: http://www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov," the Tweet concluded.
"Lane has the potential of bringing the state of Hawaii serious and perhaps record damage," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
"All residents and interests on the islands should closely monitor Hurricane Lane and pay particular attention to local officials on possible evacuations and preparations," Kottlowski said.
Reports are saying that even though the hurricane may weaken, "residents and visitors of Hawaii should not let their guard down as Lane will remain a dangerous and potentially life-threatening storm," says Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
"People should be prepared for power outages, coastal flooding, beach erosion, downed trees and major travel disruptions," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
At this time, AccuWeather experts are expecting the hurricane to track about 80 miles southwest of the Big Island, and about 60 miles southwest of O'ahu, but there is still a risk of a direct hit.
We are asking our readers to pray for everyone on the islands. Will you join us?