#HurricaneLane taking aim on Hawaii, downgraded to Cat3, turning NW


The battle of the weather forecast computer models is about to be waged. Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. writes on Twitter:

He adds:

If ECMWF is correct..will further cement role as leading global model. But if its wrong….it will elevate USA & other models If ECMWF is right, however, there should be post mortem as to why

Here’s the latest animation of the Hurricane via infrared satellite view, along with the projected storm tracks from the USA models.

And here are some still images showing radar and cloud cover imaged in infrared:

Now, here is the ECMWF (European) model via Dr. Ryan Maue at weathermodels.com

The ECMWF has some tracks steering the storm into Maui and also Oahu.

Let’s hope it’s wrong.

UPDATE: Dr. Ryan Maue adds on Twitter –



It seems the forecast tracks are staring to look more Northwesterly, following the actual persistence track.


LiveCam at Waikiki Beach:

56 thoughts on “#HurricaneLane taking aim on Hawaii, downgraded to Cat3, turning NW

  1. I wonder what the construction standards are in Hawaii? If they did allow for tropical storms, it might not be too bad, otherwise. . .

    • Category 3 only. link There are lots of older buildings that don’t even meet Category 3 requirements. It’s not like Florida where everything that could blow down already did so decades ago.

  2. Been there; done that; got the T-shirt. Survived hurricanes Luis & Marilyn (1995), Bertha (1996), and Irma & Maria (2017) while living in the Virgin Islands. Irma was a big Category 5 storm and the center of the eye passed just 12 miles north of my apartment. It is awful being on an island hit by a major storm.

  3. The official track has it a good 100 miles away from the big island….and 50 miles plus away from Honolulu
    It has a small eye…..

    • Barring the apparently unlikely event of the eye hitting one of the main islands, the problem seems to be rain. BIG mountains on Hawaii. Lots of orographic uplift, so even heavier rainfall than “normal” for a major tropical cyclone. Plus which, a friend on the Big Island says it has been drizzling for weeks, so the rain may be falling on saturated soil.

  4. The concern I see here is the actual track is following the northern edge of the European model. Not a good sign. I was thinking the storm would track more to the west based on the ensemble of the models, but not so far. Right now it appears headed straight for Honolulu.

    Here’s hoping it turns away from the islands. Just a little shift to the west and it’s a miss.

      • The Governor of Hawai’i is going on TV urging the hard-core “Eddie would go” surfers to sit this one out. I hope common sense prevails.
        Whether the eye passes over any of the islands or not, this is going to be a big rain and surf event. Rainfall could be over a foot in areas and with the steep, mountainous terrain, that means flash floods. And there will be significant erosion all along the shores. Hawai’i will be hit bad irrespective of the final track.

      • I just took a drive along Ali’i Drive , the shoreline street in Kailua Kona. The waves normally splash over the sea wall near the pier on occasion, but today nearly every wave was splashing over and spraying onto the street. There were people standing on the sea wall posing for pictures, along with the numerous fishermen who are usually there. Big crowds of people were gathered at the small beach at the south end of the sea wall watching the waves and taking pictures. There were a number of surfers in the water waiting to catch a wave (this is not a normal surfing spot.). Traffic was heavy and moving at less than half the 15mph speed limit. La’aloa (Magic Sands) and Kahalu’u beaches were closed, and the surfers were staying away.

        I live at an elevation of 750ft. above Kailua Kona village. The Windy.com forecast, based on the ECMWF model shows the current wind speed at my house as 3mph, and the wind speed will reach 14mph late Friday to early Saturday with gusts up to 37mph. Rain is very light right now, but could increase by tonight. The eastern side of the island is already getting heavy rain.

        • KELN at Ellensburg had gusts of 45mph this afternoon.
          Blew the smoke over to Idaho. No rain though.

  5. The mountains on the Big Island are very high so I can see why one would expect the storm to steer away to the west.

    • What one weather guy noted (TropicalTidbits dot com) is that there are different wind fields at different heights. There are winds out of the southeast at one elevation, trade winds at another and interference patterns around the islands with the big mountains on Maui and Hawaii. That’s why it’s so difficult to figure out the hurricanes path.

      • They have been suggesting over 150mph for the last few days. When I checked “nullschool” the highest I could find was 86mph!

        • It does cause one to wonder. I recall from previous storms that observers/instruments on the ground reported far lower wind speeds than the media.

    • No further aircraft reconnaissance. The USAF 53rd WRS decided to evacuate their planes to the mainland since the storm would track all along the archipelago. There was no safe place to sequester the aircraft on the ground and no ‘bingo’ airfields around. From now on we will have to track Lane by radar and satellite.

  6. I look on these forecasters as being between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they certainly don’t want to under-forecast an event, possibly people don’t take proper precautions, and end up in bad circumstances. On the other hand, over-forecasting is a bit safer. Because then you can say “well, aren’t you glad it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be”? But then the problem is the “crying wolf” syndrome. Next time, they might not believe you, and wind up in a dangerous situation. I certainly don’t envy them.

  7. With this hurricane l think its the amount of rainfall that is going to be the biggest threat rather then the winds. Because if it moves north then the wind shear will start to tear this hurricane apart. Note how its already having a effect on the NW corner of this hurricane in the video. The downside to this shearing is that it will send alot of heavy rainfall over the lslands of Hawaii.

  8. Look at it this way: If it strikes Hawaii, it could extinguish the volcanic eruption. So this is a sort of win/win scenario, no? 😉

  9. How about a pool: When will the first usage of “unprecedented” pop up on TWC? Second prize for “historic”. Consolation prize for “catastrophic”.

  10. A 14,000 ft volcanic mountain is going to create a pretty strong low pressure region on the lee side that may pull the lower winds off the eye and make it ‘fall over’ with the top towards the west. The broken storm is likely to dump a shed load of rain.

    Warmer water and clearer sky to the west is probably where Lane really wants to go.

  11. TWC shows a 10% chance of “sustained hurricane force winds” (74 mph) for the small islands, as the storm continues to follow the most likely path.

  12. I have lived in Hawaii for three years, and in each of those years there has been a hurricane threatening the Big Island “for the first time ever.” The storm that was supposed to devastate Hawaii last year, didn’t ruffle a leaf here in Kona. Hurricanes that approach directly from the east dissipate quickly when the winds encounter Maun Kea and Mauna Loa. From observation, and researching past storms, I formed the opinion that the dangerous storms come in from a southerly position, and make a sharp turn to the north, bypassing the Big Island. So now comes Hurricane Lane, doing exactly that, except I’m not sure it is going to make that sharp right turn. Nevertheless, we have prepared for the worst. Having been chased out of Houston by Hurricane Rita, and ridden out Hurricane Ike, I do have a healthy respect for hurricanes.

  13. A cousin in the hills above Hilo sent video of a fast-flowing creek that now runs 20 feet from their back yard. They may have to evacuate if the rain doesn’t let up, or if the debris becomes a problem.

    • Tomorrow Hurricane Lane will be over Honolulu in the form of a tropical storm. It will bring very heavy rainfall.

  14. Lane is a very interesting storm with a fixed 14,000 ft obstacle @ about 100 miles away.

    It would be neat if we could play it again at about 30 and 60 miles closer to observe the differing results.

  15. Waikiki current weather report: 82 F, 22 mph wind, mostly cloudy.

    Checked the live cam in head post. Is there only one pick-up truck in Hawaii? lol

  16. Lane is dead. It’s just a whirl hiding behind a big rock and maintained at this point by the winds coming around the rock.

    Any ideas if the American modelers have a few kayakers or other whitewater boaters onboard who had input on the possible/probable effect of a really big rock?

  17. From wind observations on nullschool @ 1000mb and 850mb it looks like the big Hawaiian rock island may be maintaining Lane’s circulation @ 25-30 mph at ~500 miles away.

    If true, that surprises the crap out of me. I would expect maybe 200 or so. I’m sure a lot of eyes are watching. First time I had the opportunity to watch/study turbulence in a flow that wasn’t in whitewater. The shape of the southern side of the island at the southern peak on the island with the saddle in the middle is worth mention. This storm will be in future textbooks.

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