Trump declares emergency as hurricane menaces Hawaii

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HAWAIIAN OCEAN VIEW, United States, Aug 23, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – US President
Donald Trump on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Hawaii, releasing
disaster funds as powerful Hurricane Lane bears down on the archipelago’s Big
Island.

US weather authorities said Lane had weakened slightly to a Category 4-
storm but was still packing maximum sustained winds of 130 miles (215
kilometers) per hour, threatening torrential rains, high winds and dangerous
surf.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned in its latest
advisory that Lane could produce “excessive rainfall” that would deluge the
islands into the weekend, “leading to significant and life-threatening flash
flooding and landslides.”

Trump had earlier urged Hawaiians to hunker down and prepare for Lane,
while the US Navy said it was deploying some of its Hawaii-based ships and
submarines to avoid getting trapped when Lane hits.

Residents were stocking up on water, food and emergency supplies as Lane
was tracking some 230 miles (370 kilometers) southwest of Kailua-Kona, a town
on the west coast of the Big Island.

Forecasters said the slow-moving storm would generate large swells in the
coming days that would produce “very large and damaging surf” on shorelines
facing west and south, likely triggering “significant coastal erosion.”

Sea levels in that area were expected to rise as much as two to four feet
above normal tide levels, prompting a storm surge and “large and destructive
waves.”

Lane’s center was expected to sweep very close or over Hawaii’s main
islands later Thursday or Friday, the NOAA said.

The storm’s wind power was expected to weaken into the weekend, but
forecasters warned it would remain a hurricane as it approaches the islands.

Governor David Ige had already on Tuesday declared a state of emergency on
the Big Island to help provide relief for damage from the hurricane.

“Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane,” he said in a statement.
“I’ve not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I’ve seen with
this storm.

Hurricanes rarely make landfall in Hawaii and the last major storm to
strike the state was nearly three decades ago, when Hurricane Iniki barrelled
into the island of Kauai, leaving six people dead and causing billions of
dollars in damage.

FEMA associate administrator Jeff Byard said authorities were bracing for
the worst, stocking up on emergency food and water and readying shelters.

“We have emergency food in the form of MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) and water
that are currently on all four counties of the state,” he said.

Byard said FEMA was also working with utility companies to co-ordinate the
repair of any damaged power infrastructure.

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