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Hurricane Lane: Hawaii hit by flooding and landslides as storm nears

Hurricane Lane: Hawaii hit by flooding and landslides as storm nears

Schools and offices were closed as residents took shelter from the storm, which was downgraded to category three strength on Thursday.


As the hurricane neared the islands of the Aloha state, it brought winds of 125 mph (200 km/h) and heavy rainfall.


President Donald Trump earlier declared a state of emergency for Hawaii.

The White House said that federal authorities were on standby to provide support and supplies to local and state emergency response efforts.


While the storm has been downgraded, the situation remains “dangerous” and severe flooding is a “major concern”, the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted.


Meanwhile United Airlines said it had cancelled all Friday flights to and from the main airports on Maui, the second-largest island.


How are residents coping?


On the Big Island, where a hurricane warning was earlier issued by the NWS, more than 12in (30cm) of rain fell on Thursday.


Roads were closed due to the landslides and images of cars attempting to tackle the deep waters were posted on social media.


Residents in other areas of the Big Island, such as Hilo, were caught out by the flash floods with several vehicles becoming trapped.


A member of staff at a local service station in Haleiwa, on the north shore of Oahu island, told AFP news agency that motorists had been “constantly filling” their vehicles.


A hurricane watch was also issued by the NWS for the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai.


Hawaii Governor David Ige urged residents to set aside supplies of water, food and medicines as a precaution and to avoid driving if possible.


Dozens of evacuation centres were also set up throughout the day as Mr Trump urged Hawaiians to hunker down and prepare for the worst.


According to NWS, only four named storms have made landfall in Hawaii since 1959 – and only two of those storms were hurricanes.


Hawaii generally sees about one storm strong enough to earn a name pass within 60 miles of the islands every four years.


Earlier this month, Hurricane Hector, a category four storm, also passed by the islands, though it did not come as close as Lane.


The state has also seen serious volcanic eruptions this summer, with lava and ash spewing from the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island since May.