Science

President Trump issues disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Lane

President Trump issues disaster declaration ahead of Hurricane Lane

Though the hurricane weakened slightly as it spun across the Pacific Ocean it remained a powerful Category 4 storm, the second-strongest on the 5-step Saffir-Simpson scale of wind intensity, according to the US Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

The Hawaiian islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe are under a hurricane watch, with the storm packing winds of up to 160 miles per hour and the potential for flooding rains.

Lane was centered about 205 miles southwest of Kailua-Kona - or 290 miles south of Honolulu - and was moving toward the northwest.

At this time there are no changes to the cruise due to depart Honolulu the evening of August 25, a spokesperson for Norwegian said.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Hawaii County and Maui County, comprising Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe. Officials were also working to help Hawaii's sizeable homeless population, many of whom live near beaches and streams that could flood.

The airline is advising all passengers travelling to or from cities affected by Hurricane Lane to check the status of their flights prior to leaving for the airport. All public schools canceled classes until further notice and many state employees have been asked to stay home.

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On the island of Oahu, which was put on a hurricane warning late Wednesday, shelters were scheduled to open Thursday.

CBS says that the safety of the cast and crew are the top priority and that they have been "closely monitoring the situation" since it was determined the hurricane would hit the island on Thursday afternoon.

Hurricane Lane is now headed towards Hawaii and is a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Because there's not enough shelter space statewide, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Tom Travis urged people who were not in flood zones to stay home. Over the course of Thursday, "we are looking at measuring a lot of this rainfall actually in feet rather than inches", said Gavin Shigesato, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, on Thursday.

Torrential downpours from Hurricane Lane are soaking Hawaii's Big Island as the storm approaches the island. President Trump's declaration secures federal emergency response funding as well as Homeland Security and FEMA assistance.

The ships will be in position to provide assistance after the storm if needed, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.