Major Hurricane Lane strengthened substantially overnight into an even more powerful Category 4 storm. Currently, the storm has 150mph sustained winds with higher gusts, and is traveling west at 12mph. The current minimum pressure is 950mb. A look at the infrared satellite imagery below shows that Lane has taken on an Annular Tropical Storm shape. What does this mean? In layman's terms, the storm features a relatively large eye, symmetrical convection (storm activity), and has an absence or disconnect of rain bands that are normally seen in strong tropical systems.
Per the latest National Hurricane Center forecast, the 3-day "cone of uncertainty" engulfs much of the Hawaiian Islands. The current forecast track keeps the eye and eye wall (strongest impacts) of the storm off-shore, but keep in mind that the actual storm track may shift elsewhere inside the cone. Lane is expected to remain a Major Hurricane (Category 3+) through Wednesday night as it nears the Big Island of Hawaii, with gradual weakening into latter portions of the week. Hurricane Watches will likely be issued later today.
The latest forecast model guidance maintains Lane at Category 3 or 4 strength through Hawaiian Island impacts, with the storm most likely to impact the area Thursday through Saturday.
The most likely time of arrival for tropical-storm-force winds for the Big Island is late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. The color indicates the probability of experiencing tropical-storm-force winds in the next 5 days.
Significant impacts are expected to the main Hawaiian Islands later this week-now is the time to prepare! Impacts include: deadly surf, storm surge, flooding, mud slides, and damaging winds. Per the latest ECMWF data, significant wave heights of up to 36 feet will be possible.
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Graphic Credits: weather.us, NHC, Tropical Tidbits, and NOAA