The Latest: Warnings dropped as Lane turns away from Hawaii
HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Lane (all times local):
The National Weather Service has dropped all warnings for tropical storm Lane, saying it is now moving away from Hawaii.
The weather service said Saturday the storm has turned west, reducing the threat to the state.
Lane had been a Category 5 hurricane just a few days ago but has been steadily weakening as it neared the islands.
The storm currently is packing winds with gusts up to 50 mph, but those are expected to weaken over the next two days as Lane moves west in the Pacific Ocean.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says tropical storm Lane had little effect on the eruption of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island.
Officials on Saturday said the biggest impacts involved minor rock falls at the summit and increased steaming from vents.
The observatory says it lost communication with several monitoring stations in the past two days but the losses only slightly reduced its ability to assess volcanic conditions.
Whiteout conditions could occur on the new lava field due to steam produced by heavy rainfall on still-hot lava flows.
An official says wildfires burned nine homes in Lahaina and forced 600 people to evacuate.
Maui County spokeswoman Lynn Araki-Regan said Saturday that some people have returned but many haven’t because much of the area lacks power.
Maui Electric is working to restore power.
The county is urging west Maui residents to conserve water to because the power outage means the water utility isn’t able to pump water.
In addition, firefighters need water to put out the remaining flames.
Maui firefighters say a wildfire that rapidly spread as a hurricane bore down on their island is now 80 percent contained.
Maui County Fire Battalion Chief Michael Werner said Saturday the fire has burned 2,000 acres in the Lahaina area. He says firefighters are beating back flare-ups.
He says the island got heavy rain overnight which helped douse the flames.
The fire spread into the mountains behind Lahaina. Werner says firefighters usually use helicopters to fight blazes there because of the steep terrain but couldn’t do that because of the high winds.
The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm Friday.
An official says authorities rescued people from more than 20 homes on the Big Island overnight as Tropical Storm Lane drenched the island with more rain.
Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe said Saturday that first responders weren’t able to reach a family of four in the Mountain View area because water levels were too high.
He is hopeful the rescuers will be able to get them as the weather improves. Otherwise, firefighters may send in a helicopter or call in the National Guard.
He says all the rescues occurred in the east side of the Big Island.
Landslides and pooling water forced three highways to shut down overnight. Only Highway 11 from Hilo toward South Point was still closed early Saturday.
Forecasters say winds have died down but rain remains a threat on some Hawaiian Islands as tropical storm Lane churns in the central Pacific.
National Weather Service meteorologist Vanessa Almanza said as much as 10 inches of rain could fall Saturday as the storm remains about 110 miles south of Honolulu and moves north at 3 mph.
Lane is expected to turn west later in the day, which would lessen the threat to the islands.
Almanza says Maui has had about 12 inches of rain and wind gusts up to 50 mph in the past 24 hours, which caused landslides, washed out roads and downed power lines.
On Saturday the winds on Maui were blowing at about 11 mph.
On Oahu, where Honolulu is located, only about 2.3 inches of rain has fallen.
Federal officials say Hawaii residents shouldn’t let their guard down now that a once-powerful hurricane that threatened the island state has become a tropical storm.
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator says that although Lane is no longer a hurricane, tropical storms themselves can still be very dangerous.
Brock Long says during a briefing that “Hawaii is not in the clear from Tropical Storm Lane at this point.”
Long says torrential rains will be the largest threat facing Hawaii during the next 48 hours.
Lane churned toward the island chain early this week as the most powerful type of hurricane measured: a Category 5. But upper-level winds tore the storm apart and, by late Friday, the National Weather Service had downgraded Lane to a tropical storm.
6 p.m. Friday
A powerful hurricane that threatened Hawaii for a week is weakening and is now a tropical storm.
But meteorologists are warning heavy rains could still wallop the islands with flash flooding and landslides.
Lane dumped nearly 3 feet of rain on parts of the Big Island of Hawaii over the past two days, forcing residents to flee their flooded homes in waist-high water.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Friday that people need to be vigilant and not let their guard down. But he says the good news is Lane got weak and fell apart.
Upper-level winds known as shear swiftly tore Lane apart south of Honolulu.
The National Weather Service says Lane has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 mph) as it slowly heads west.