Hawaii Visitors: Keep sheltered in place before heading to the airport

Many flights to and from Hawaii are canceled. Sirens wailed while workers piled sandbags in front of hotels and police blared warnings to tourists to leave the world-famous Waikiki Beach as Hurricane Lane barreled north after dumping nearly 2 feet of rain on Hawaii’s mostly rural Big Island.

Flight cancellations announced earlier today have resulted in travelers going to airports statewide to depart Hawaii earlier than scheduled without having a confirmed ticket.

The Hawaii State Department of Transportation (DOT) and Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) are advising travelers to have confirmed tickets for flights scheduled that day before going to the airport. Customers wanting to make adjustments to their travel schedule should call their respective airlines to rebook flights first, then proceed to the airport.

For example, Kahului Airport (OGG) is currently assisting roughly 60 travelers who came to the airport seeking to leave the island ahead of their regularly scheduled departures. Unfortunately, with changes to the schedule of outgoing flights, those passengers will likely have to shelter in place at the airport overnight unless they can secure temporary lodging accommodations.

Travelers whose flights have been canceled and have not checked out of their accommodations should continue to shelter in place, if possible, or consider seeking safety at the nearest emergency shelter.

The current situation is in full action on the Island of Hawaii.
Latest update from the Island of Hawai.

Police and fire personnel recommending people evacuate an area of Hilo along the Wailuku River due to increased risk of flooding #hurricanelane

In the meantime the National Weather Service announced this afternoon that Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane and will continue to be weakened and slowed in the coming days by the combined effects of a strong wind shear and trade winds.

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, advised residents and visitors to remain vigilant about staying safe at all times and not be fooled into thinking the hurricane is anything less than a dangerous threat to people’s lives and property.

“No one should get complacent about Hurricane Lane until the all clear message has been delivered,” said Szigeti. “This is a very unpredictable hurricane that has already battered the island of Hawaii’s east side with drenching rain and flooding damage. Residents and visitors statewide need to follow the advice of our civil defense officials to shelter in place, be careful and stay safe.”

The massive hurricane continues to pose a significant threat in making its slow pass close to the south shores of the Hawaiian Islands, causing extremely high winds, torrential rainfall, flash flooding and dangerous surf conditions.

As of 8:00 p.m. HST, the center of Hurricane Lane was approximately 230 miles south of Honolulu and moving in a north-northwest direction at 6 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.

Hurricane Lane has nearly completed its pass south of the island of Hawaii and began passing Maui, Lanai and Molokai this afternoon. Because the hurricane’s progress has slowed considerably, it is now projected to begin its pass of Oahu by mid-day Friday and Kauai late Friday.

As the hurricane moves in a northerly direction it will continue to encounter the strong wind shear and trade winds that are moving in a southward direction.

Residents and visitors are advised to shelter in place while Hurricane Lane is passing the Hawaiian Islands and to have access to a 14-day supply of food and water. Shelters are opened statewide for those needing to evacuate flood zone areas. A listing of shelters is below, along with resources for information about Hurricane Lane, and closures of parks, attractions and roads.

Visitors planning to travel to or who are already here in the Hawaiian Islands should contact their airlines, accommodations and activity providers for information on being prepared and make adjustments to travel plans as needed.