United States President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency as winds and torrential rain associated with Hurricane Lane lashed Hawaii on Thursday. The hurricane was downgraded to a Category 3 storm on Thursday afternoon (Friday morning Indian time), but is still expected to strike with winds of speeds over 200 km per hour, said the National Weather Service
Flash floods and “damaging winds” are expected when the hurricane strikes the island state in the Pacific, authorities said. Some landslides and flash floods have already blocked roads. Emergency teams have set up 16 evacuation centres, and another 19 will be set up throughout the day, AFP reported.
“I have authorized an emergency disaster declaration to provide Hawaii the necessary support ahead of Hurricane Lane,” Trump said on Twitter. “Our teams are closely coordinating with the state and local authorities. You are in our thoughts!”
The eye of the hurricane is expected to reach very close to or pass over the islands later on Thursday. Sea levels are expected to rise two to four feet above normal tide levels. United Airlines has cancelled all flights to and from Kahului International Airport on the Maui island on Friday.
Hawaii Governor David Ige has warned residents of a “very dangerous situation” and asked them to avoid unnecessary travel.