Hurricane Lane has hit the brakes on its path up the Hawaiian island chain, slowing down to an agonizing crawl of 2 mph this morning before gaining a little speed at 5 mph by midday.
“It’s good and bad news,” said Gavin Shigesato, meteorologist with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. “The storm is weakening as it comes closer to Oahu but now the concern is heavy rainfall.”
Oahu and Maui could experience a very wet weekend as Lane has little else to do but sit out over the ocean and spit out rain bands.
Glenn James, the senior weather specialist with the Pacific Disaster Center on Maui, said Lane was moving along at a 16-mph clip a few days ago.
But now it’s barely moving with high pressure to the north and low pressure to the south, and with its steering currents sheltered on the lee side of the islands by the big mountains of Hawaii island, James said.
The Category 2 storm, with winds near 105 mph, is slowly weakening under the pressure of high-level winds coming from the southwest. But Lane continues to maintain its vigor and classic cloud signature in relatively warm water, James said.
And now it’s come to a virtual stall.
“It’s not a good thing,” James said. “The reason is it has more time to dump rain on the islands.”
Rain bands from Lane are expected to continue to pelt the islands, producing major flash flooding and landslides, National Weather Service forecasters said.
Lane is expected to generated 10 to 20 inches in some areas, with even as much as 40 inches possible, especially on the Big Island where more than 30 inches of rain has already fallen, they said.
Expect the rain to come in waves, heavy at times, now through at least Tuesday, James said.
Forecasters expect a weakening Lane to turn to the west Saturday and speed away under the influence of trade winds.