Former Hurricane “Lane” Weakens and Moves Away from Hawaii

Bill's Blog
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We’re less than 3 weeks away from the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and the Atlantic is as quiet as Ford Field during the NFL playoffs.  There are no hurricanes, no tropical storms, no tropical depressions – and none are expected during the next 5 days.  There is an area of thundershowers that will move off Africa into the Atlantic, but tropical development is unlikely.  Look how sunny it is over most of the North Atlantic.  Okay, let’s look at the Eastern Pacific:

Nothing here, either.  No hurricanes or tropical storms, just one small tropical disturbance with a few thunderstorms.  (Pics. from the National Hurricane Center.)  Let’s move west into the Central Pacific: 

This is what’s left of Hurricane Lane, now weakening from a tropical storm into just a depression.  As of Sunday AM, it’s weakened rapidly and has turned away from Hawaii and is heading west.  Winds peaked at 155 mph.   Here’s a list of wind damage reports.  Warnings have come down, but surf is still high.   Look below at the 24-hour rainfall at Hilo – on the windward side of the Big Island.  The 48-hour rainfall total from Hilo is 19.95″!  Up to 20 inches of rain fell in Hawaii in the last 24 hours, according to a tweet from the governor, with up to 30″ possible in a few favorable windward locations.  3.36 inches of rain in Pahoa – IN THE ONE HOUR and 1.28 inches IN 15 MINUTES!  Much of Hawaii hasn’t had nearly that much rain.  The last I saw, Honolulu had less than an inch. 

Obviously, that amount of rain caused some serious flooding:  The pic. below is from KHON.  A car is stuck partially submerged in floodwaters on the Big Island in Hilo, Hawaii. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images).  Below is 72-hour rainfall from Hurricane Lane.  The heavy rain fell on the windward side of the islands, especially the Big Island.  The prevailing wind is east-northeast and the east half of the islands in general gets a lot more rain than than the west half of the islands.  The Hurricane exacerbated that effect.   Honolulu is on the dry side and did not get the heavy rain and flooding. 

The Department of Education closed all public and charter schools on Thursday and Friday.  Look at this wild waterfall on the Big Island. The National Guard and firefighters rescued six people and a dog from a flooded home, while five California tourists were rescued from another home.

The hurricane passed right over buoy 51002.  I snipped the data from the buoy (below).  It shows the wind was from the north and ramped up to a gust of 93.2 knots (107 mph) around 8:30 am. By 9:40 am, the wind was just 2 mph – the buoy was in the eye of the hurricane.  The stayed around 2 mph for an hour and a half.  Then the wind came back (though not as strong) and a gust of 42.7 knots (49.1 mph) was recorded from the west-southwest at 11:30 am.  My first thought was that the estimated winds were a little too high.  The buoy showed a peak GUST of 107 mph – not sustained winds of 130+ mph. 

  Here’s Hawaii radar, the current weather observations in Hawaii and the latest forecast discussion on Lane.  Now, farther west…

Here’s the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.  The Indian Ocean is quiet.  The western Pacific has one tropical storm (soon to be a depression) – no hurricanes.  Globally, this is the area that should be most active through the late summer and early fall.  Right now, we have Tropical Storm Soulik.  This storm will continue to produce gusty winds and heavy rain as it moves over the Sea of Japan toward Hokkaido. 

 We also have the remains of tropical storm  “Cimaron”:

Cimaron has weakened and is still giving some showers to parts of Japan.  It will merge with the weakening Soulik.  I have a nephew living in Japan (he may stay there forever – loves the country and the people – he’s fluent in Japanese and teaches English to businessmen) and they do pay attention to the weather there. 

These are the tracks of tropical storms so far this year (from Wikipedia).  Note the track coming up into Michigan.  You probably don’t remember, but the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto reached Michigan on My 30th and brought Grand Rapids 1.39″ of rain and a 40 mph wind gust.  Beryl has been the only storm that formed closer to Africa.  It reached minimal hurricane strength for a day, brought a soaking rain to Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a tropical storm, then moved north and dissipated.  Chris has been the strongest storm this year, reaching winds of 105 mph off the coast of N. Carolina in early July.  The remants of the storm passed southeast of Iceland.  Debby lasted only from August 7-9 as a relatively small tropical storm in the Central Atlantic.  Same for Ernesto, which spent a few days as a minimal tropical storm in the Central Atlantic.  The remnants of Ernesto brought some rain to England and Ireland.  All the major hurricane experts predict a relatively quite hurricane season in the Atlantic – a nice change from the active year last year when 3 storms (Harvey, Irma and Maria) caused significant damage to the U.S. and Caribbean. 

It’s not impossible that we could have a short period of time when we don’t have a single hurricane in the world in late August and that would be most unusual. 

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