Hurricane Lane expected to pass south of Hawaii

TS Lane May Become Another Close Encounter for Hawai'i

TS Lane May Become Another Close Encounter for Hawai'i

Previously a cyclone, Lane strengthened into a hurricane over Thursday night and now has wind speeds of up to 75mph.

Early Saturday, the storm was more than 1,200 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph - the lowest threshold for a Category 4. As a result, Lane is expected to move west-northwestward for the next 48 hours or so, and then turn westward by day 3, maintaining that motion on days 4 and 5.

Images created by the NHC show the predicted path of the hurricane, which could brush Hawaii next week.

The storm is expected to weaken to a Category 1 (sustained winds of 74-95 mph) by Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center says.

Lane's approach comes more than a week after Hawaii watched Hurricane Hector pass well to the south.

Hurricane Lane continued to intensify Friday, becoming a Category 3 storm as it continued its westward track toward Hawaii Island.

The NHC intensity forecast suggests Lane's winds could increase to 125mph on Saturday.

This would mean that the centre of the storm would keep south of the Hawaiian islands.

Little change in strength is expected on Sunday.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale for Hawaii is a 1 to 5 categorization based on the hurricane's intensity.

Derek Wroe, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said: "Warm ocean water is the fuel for hurricanes". "This easterly swell will likely result in large surf for east and southeast facing shores of the Big Island and could potentially produce large surf for east facing shores of Maui".

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