Torrential rains hit on Friday on Hawaii, forcing thousands of people to evacuate while the slow moving hurricane Lane led to concern about a worsening this weekend with flooding already “catastrophic” in places.
Since Friday evening (3 hours GMT Saturday) Lane is no longer officially a hurricane and its winds were still 140 miles per hour earlier in the afternoon (midnight Saturday GMT) have sufficiently decreased (100 to 110 kilometers/hour) to earn him the status of a tropical storm, according to the latest bulletin from the national hurricane Center in the Pacific.
But it was flooding the island, its rain, posing on the islands american a significant risk of flooding and landslides.
The storm, which was around 3 hours GMT, approximately 180 kilometres south of the capital, Honolulu, is moving at the very slow speed of 4 miles/hour, towards the north. It should, however, according to the forecast, turn off towards the west from Saturday.
“Excessive rainfall associated with this hurricane moving slowly will continue to affect the hawaiian islands in the course of the weekend, causing catastrophic flooding and potentially life-threatening and landslides,” warned the meteorologists of the National Weather Service (NWS).
These latter were expecting to see pass the hurricane “dangeureusement near” the central islands of Hawaii Friday night or Saturday morning, before taking the direction of the west.
75 inches of water in 24 hours
Several parts of the archipelago, the two islands most populated, Oahu, and Maui remained in alert “hurricane” and the authorities were on the rise calls for caution.
“It is very dangerous to stay outside, especially in areas where we know that there are floods,” warned Friday at a press briefing the head of the federal Agency of emergency situations (Fema) Brock Long, promising “the case”.
“It is necessary that people expect to be without electricity for some time and that the infrastructure would be severely affected”, he added then that the population constituted a reserve of water, food and gasoline.
The effects of Lane have already begun to make themselves felt. Nearly 60 centimetres of water fell during the past 36 hours on the world-famous Waikiki beach, causing its closure while the merchants and hoteliers were trying to protect their buildings with the help of sand bags.
The main island of Hawaii, on which is located the volcano erupting Kilauea, has been the most affected so far, with more than 75 centimetres of water in the space of 24 hours.
And the sea level is expected to reach up to 1.20 metre higher than its usual level of high tide, with waves potentially destructive, warned the meteorologists, calling the inhabitants not to go out.
“A feeling of anxiety”
The american Red Cross indicated that more than 2000 residents of the archipelago had been accommodated in temporary evacuation centers put up by the counties.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up tomorrow morning (Saturday) and see 2500 to 3000 people, or more, in the evacuation centres,” said one of its leaders, Brad Kieserman, during a press conference.
“There is a feeling of anxiety, but I keep the hope” that everything is going well, told the AFP a resident of Haleiwa, on the island of Oahu.
Facing the risk of potentially devastating hurricane, the authorities stand ready.
“Our teams work closely with the State (of Hawaii), and with the local authorities”, had tweeted Thursday, Donald Trump.
The u.s. president spoke Friday by telephone with the governor of the State of Hawaii, David Ige, “to express his support” to the inhabitants of the archipelago, has informed the White House.
The two men spoke of the state of emergency declared Wednesday by Mr. Trump, opening the disbursement of federal funds and allowing Fema to provide assistance adequate to support the emergency measures necessary.
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