The News Asia: Hurricane Lane drenched Hawaii on Thursday (Aug 23) ahead of its arrival in the island state, prompting US President Donald Trump to declare a state of emergency as landslides and flash flooding left roads blocked.
The National Weather Service said Lane – located about 320km south of Hawaii – remained a powerful category four hurricane, packing winds in excess of 209kmh. The eye was expected to sweep very close to or over the islands sometime later Thursday.
Up to 30cm of rain have already fallen, according to federal authorities, with 76cm expected in the worst-hit areas over the coming four to five days.
“Someone once told me it wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark,” American Red Cross vice-president Brad Kieserman told a news conference in Washington.
“That means that readiness is important – readiness to make sure we can fulfil our responsibility and the critical infrastructure lifelines.”
Emergency teams have set up 16 evacuation centres, with a further 19 due to open throughout the day, authorities said, as Trump urged Hawaiians to hunker down and prepare for the worst. “Our teams are closely coordinating with the state and local authorities. You are in our thoughts!” Trump tweeted.