Lane, the second major storm to threaten Hawaii in recent weeks, poured nearly three feet of rain onto Big Island, causing “catastrophic flooding” on its eastern coast early Friday, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Source: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. Times are in Hawaii Standard Time.

By Saturday, Lane weakened to a tropical storm. Though, it still dropped enough rain to cause flash flooding and mudslides, which forced numerous road closures, evacuations and water rescues by officials.

At least four weather stations on Big Island reported more than 40 inches of rain since Wednesday afternoon. Hilo, located on the northeast coast of the Big Island, recorded 15 inches of rain Friday, making it the fifth-wettest day on record for the city.

Three-hour rainfall totals

0

1.4+ inches

Kauai

Oahu

Maui

Honolulu

Hilo

(Hawaii Standard Time)

Hawaii

100 MILES

Three-hour rainfall totals

Kauai

0

1.4+ inches

Oahu

Honolulu

Maui

Hilo

(Hawaii Standard Time)

North Pacific

Ocean

Hawaii

50 MILES

Lane knocked out power to almost 16,000 houses and businesses Friday, according to the Associated Press. The storm also caused a brush fire on the island of Maui, forcing residents in a hurricane shelter in Lahaina to relocate and others nearby to evacuate.

Heavy rainfall from Hurricane Lane caused flooding around Hilo. (Clockwise from top left: Jessica Henricks/AP; Ace Norton/Reuters; Bruce Omori/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Due to Hawaii’s location in the Pacific Ocean, the islands have rarely experienced direct-hit hurricanes. The state, climate scientists have said, is in a "sweet spot" for weather.

Hurricanes need warm water to thrive. For Hawaii, the cooler water surrounding the islands prevents storms from gaining strength.

Recently, the water temperature around the state has been higher than normal, a Princeton University climate scientist told the AP.

Sea Surface Temperature, Aug. 23

68˚F

77

86

20˚C

25

30

Cool

water

North Pacif ic

Ocean

Sea surface

temperatures

above 81.9˚F fuel

tropical storms

Warm

water

300 MILES

Sea Surface Temperature, Aug. 23

68˚F

77

86

20˚C

25

30

Cool water

North Pacific

Ocean

Sea surface temperatures

above 81.9˚F fuel

tropical storms

Warm water

300 MILES

Additionally, the island is near a high-pressure system in the ocean, where air is pushed down from the atmosphere onto the water. The winds from the system provides Hawaii with consistent weather during hurricane season – typically from May to October – and, in a way, helps deflect major storms from making landfall.

Major hurricanes hitting the Hawaiian Islands are rare

Storm paths from 1950 to 2017

Saffir-Simpson scale

Category

Wind speed

74 to 95

1

96 to 110

2

111 to 129

3

4

130 to 156

5

More than 157

HIKI 1950

IWA 1982

North

Pacific Ocean

KANOA

1957

DOT 1959

NINA 1957

ISELLE

2014

EMILIA 1994

FICO 1978

ANA 2014

INIKI 1992

Major hurricanes hitting the Hawaiian Islands are rare

Storm paths from 1950 to 2017

Saffir-Simpson scale

Tropical storm

39 to 73 mph

HIKI 1950

Category 1

74 to 95

Category 2

96 to 110

IWA 1982

Category 3

111 to 129

Kauai

INIKI 1992

North

Pacific Ocean

Category 4

130 to 156

Oahu

Honolulu

Category 5

More than 157

Maui

DOT 1959

ANA 2014

NINA 1957

KANOA 1957

Hilo

Hawaii

FICO 1978

ISELLE 2014

EMILIA 1994

JIMENA 2003

Major hurricanes hitting the Hawaiian Islands are rare

Storm paths from 1950 to 2017

Saffir-Simpson scale

Tropical storm

39 to 73 mph

HIKI 1950

Category 1

74 to 95

Category 2

96 to 110

IWA 1982

Category 3

111 to 129

Kauai

Category 4

130 to 156

INIKI 1992

Oahu

Category 5

More than 157

Honolulu

Maui

DOT 1959

ANA 2014

Hawaii

North

Pacific Ocean

NINA 1957

KANOA 1957

Hilo

ISELLE 2014

FICO 1978

EMILIA 1994

JIMENA 2003

The last storm to hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

The Category 4 storm slammed into the island of Kauai in September 1992, wreaking havoc across the area with 130-mph winds that destroyed more than 1,000 houses and caused nearly $5 billion in damage.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration later reported Iniki was the strongest and most destructive hurricane to hit the islands since the 1900s.

About this story

Storm path data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rainfall data from the National Weather Service. Sea surface temperature from NOAA Coral Reef Watch. Himawari-8 satellite imagery from Japan Meteorological Agency via the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere.

Originally published Aug. 23, 2018.

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