Tropical Storm Lane Still a Danger
USChris Jasurek

The Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator wants Hawaii residents to realize that though Lane has been downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm, it is still dangerous.

FEMA head Brock Long said in a media briefing, “Hawaii is not in the clear from Tropical Storm Lane at this point,” according to AP.

The island will still be inundated by hard rain and lashed by strong winds for the next 48 hours, whatever official description the storm bears.

Posted by U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) on Friday, August 24, 2018

“The rainfall event is not over,” Long said. “Torrential rains will be the largest threat that we see for the next 48 hours.”

He said the biggest effects so far have been on transportation, due to mudslides and other damage to the transportation infrastructure, mostly in Hawaii County on the Big Island.

Downgraded but Dangerous

Before reaching Hawaii, Lane had been listed as a Category 5 Hurricane, the highest designation that exists for hurricanes.

A Category 5 storm will have sustained wind speeds above 157 mph. A Tropical Storm’s maximum sustained wind speed is less than half that at only 73 mph.

The storm broke up from its own forces, and was downgraded to “Tropical Storm” by the National Weather Service (NWS) on Friday night, Aug. 24.

An NWS tweet noted that as far as tropical storms go, Lane was the second-wettest so far, and still going strong.

The storm had already dumped as much as 42 inches of rain on some parts of the islands and was within ten inches of setting a new record.

While the high winds won’t be as high as the worst anticipated and the high surf might not reach the greatest height, Lane is already exceeding the rain warnings listed by NWS when it was still a hurricane.

Flooding Already

Lane rained hardest on the Big Island on Aug. 24. The city of Hilo was flooded with waist-high water and landslides shut down most of the roads.

Waikiki was expecting significant damage as the rain hit as hard as predicted.

This photo shows damage from Hurricane Lane near Hilo, Hawaii
This photo shows damage from Hurricane Lane near Hilo, Hawaii, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, (Jessica Henricks via AP)

Ray Alexander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned that the Ala Wai Canal was likely to flood if the rain was as strong as predicted.

“The canal has flooded in the past, and I believe it’s safe to say based on the forecast of rainfall it’s likely to flood again—the impacts of which we aren’t prepared to say at this time,” Alexander told AP.

A woman walks by a boarded up store near Waikiki Beach
A woman walks by a boarded up store near Waikiki Beach in Honolulu ahead of Hurricane Lane, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been warning for years that in the worst possible scenario, the canal could flood and destroy some 3,000 buildings, causing up to a billion dollars in damage, the Honolulu-Star-Advertiser reported.