'Be prepared': State urges readiness as Hurricane Lane churns westward

Lane 8/21 at 5 p.m.: 'Monster' hurricane continues on path toward Hawaii

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The time to prepare for Hurricane Lane is now.

That's the message from city and state emergency management officials, who say parts of the state could begin to see impacts from the storm mid-week.

"It's important for residents and visitors to stay alert and stay informed," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday.

"Some people might say, 'Another hurricane, it didn't hit us last time, we don't need to worry.' No, we got to plan for the worst and hope for the best."

Lane is packing sustained winds near 150 mph as it barrels toward Hawaiian waters. The current forecast track shows it taking a turn to the northwest, closer to the islands.

The city said it's already started checking streams and other waterways for possible blockages in an effort to prevent flooding.

It's urging residents to ensure they have a disaster preparedness kit on hand and have discussed their emergency plans with family members.

[Here's what you should have in your emergency hurricane supply kit]

"With the change in track, it's gonna get closer. We are going to feel the impacts, maybe tropical force winds, rain, those kinds of things," Caldwell said.

"But remember Iniki, it took a jog. It looked it was gonna hit Oahu, then hit Kauai. We don't wanna say, 'Ah, no need to worry' and something bad happens and people are gonna be outraged, so we need to be prepared."

Forecasters at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center say it's still too early to know the exact track of Lane.

"What Iniki did was it came due west and then it paused directly south of Kauai and then suddenly got picked up and went due north so it made more of a right angle turn so to speak. If we look at Lane, the projected path is more of a curve to the northwest and then a lot of uncertainty," said director Chris Brenchley.

Maui officials have also joined the throng of those warning residents to prepare for the worst case scenario.

"Now is the time to get ready," said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, in a statement.

"Anyone who is waiting until the storm hits to prepare will find themselves running around at the last minute and standing in line at the gas stations and grocery stores. So prepare now and avoid being on the road when you should be safe at home," Arakawa said.

Maui Emergency Management Agency officials are currently coordinating readiness activities with several state, federal and county agencies. Residents can view a free preparedness workbook here.

Many areas of Kauai's north shore are still recovering from heavy floods back in April that caused several homes, buildings and roadways to be destroyed.

On Monday, Kauai officials urged residents to get informed and begin precautionary measures.

"We are very aware of the current challenges regarding access on Kuhio Highway in Wainiha, and the additional concerns of landslides that could occur with the approaching storm system," said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., in a statement.

"At this time we are encouraging all people islandwide to start preparing and to stay tuned to further updates," Carvalho said.

Meanwhile, on the Big Island, authorities activated the Emergency Operation Center on Monday morning.

Several beach parks have already been closed in advance of the storm.

Officials said Whittington, Punaluu and Milolii beach parks are closed as Lane threatens to push up surf.

Evacuees displaced by the Kilauea eruption who are staying outside the Pahoa and Keaau shelters may have to move or head indoors.

"It kind of depends on what the forecast and the trends are that we're seeing," said Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator. "We definitely want people to be moving during the daylight hours so will make that call as the storm progresses."

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