Deja Vu Is Hitting Hawaii As Hurricane Lane Barrels Toward The State


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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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Hurricane Lane is projected to bring strong winds and heavy rains to Hawaii Thursday, the first time a hurricane has hit the state in decades.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, issued a state of emergency ahead of the storm Tuesday to better prepare island residents and emergency crews for the eventual impact. Lane grew to a Category 5 hurricane Wednesday, becoming the second Category 5 storm to come within 350 miles of Hawaii since records have been kept. Lane was later downgraded to a Category 4 storm Wednesday afternoon. (RELATED: Hurricane Lane Hits Category 5 Status As Hawaii Awaits Its Arrival)

Although Lane is approaching the island’s as a Category 4, it is expected to downgrade to a 2 while the eye of the storm passes along to the west. The Island of Hawaii, the largest and southern-most of the isles, is expected to avoid the worst of the storm, but will still catch some wind and rain. The rest of the state can expect to be in the hurricane at some point.


Lane is expected to travel up the island chain Thursday, Friday and Saturday before veering west out into the Pacific. The storm should be largely past the island of Ni’ihau, the last in the chain, by Sunday.

Hurricanes hitting Hawaii are far from common, however, the state has dealt with destructive and sometimes fatal storms in the past, Hawaii 24/7 reported. Fourteen hurricanes have passed within 230 miles of Hawaii since records began to be kept in 1950, according to data compiled by The Weather Channel.

The first recorded fatal hurricane to strike the state hit in 1950. Hurricane Hiki dropped more than 50 inches of rain and brought winds around 70 miles per hour, potentially strong enough to be a small Category 1 storm today. One person died from Hiki.

Hurricane Iwa hit the islands as a Category 1 in 1982, but still wrought $250 million worth of property damage, as well as killing one person. The amount of damage became a record that would stand for the next decade.

Waves from Hurricane Estelle rocked Hawaii’s Big Island in 1986, destroying five homes and damaging others. Two people drowned. The storm in the sky was relatively light, however, and did not damage much of the interior island.

Hurricane Uleki passed by Hawaii in 1988, causing rough surf and waves that drowned two people. Like Estelle, the hurricane’s impact on land was light.

Hurricane Iniki was the last major storm to strike Hawaii in recorded history in 1992. The storm made landfall as a Category 4 storm and wrought roughly $3 billion in damage. Over 1,400 homes were destroyed and thousands more were damaged. Six people were killed; 100 more were injured. Restoring power on the islands was a slow process, and only 20 percent of power was restored a month after the hurricane, CBS News reported.

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