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Hurricane Lane Weakens But Still Triggers Flooding, Landslides


We're going to turn now to Hawaii, a state that is already feeling the impact of Hurricane Lane. Now, this storm has been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane. It may not make direct landfall, but the National Weather Service is warning that some areas of Hawaii could see in excess of 30 inches of rain. Hawaii's Governor David Ige requested an emergency declaration that President Trump did issue. And Governor Ige joins us on the line now from Honolulu for the latest. Governor, good morning. I know this has been a busy time, I'm sure. Thanks for taking the time for us.

DAVID IGE: I'm glad to be on. Thank you for the invitation.

GREENE: Well, I've been following your Twitter account. You've been posting some pretty amazing images of some of the flooding, it looks like, on the Big Island. How bad have things gotten there?

IGE: We have gotten quite a lot of rain on Hawaii Island. You know, there are three impacts from the hurricane. A lot of rain and flooding is the first concern. Obviously, the wind, although we haven't had very, very strong wind on Hawaii Island at this point. And then it's really a storm surf and ocean surges on the south-facing shores. The hurricane has kind of stalled and stopped moving for a period of time, and it's been just offshore of Hawaii Island for a number of hours now.

GREENE: And that, as I understand it, can be a potentially dangerous situation - if a hurricane slows down, even if it's been downgraded. I mean, the amount of life-threatening rainfall and flooding that can come, I mean, that has to be a concern right now.

IGE: Absolutely. In parts of Hawaii Island, we've had almost 20 inches of rain in less than a 12-hour period. And certainly, we've seen flooding. That's a big concern of ours. We do have emergency response personnel available on the island for those who feel that they need assistance.

GREENE: And I guess the storm track, if it keeps moving, has it heading closer to Oahu, where you are, and Maui. What are you most concerned about, and what preparations are you making on those islands?

IGE: You know, we have an extensive team of federal, state and county emergency managers all working together to really keep our communities safe. With the presidential disaster declaration, you know, we have more than 300 personnel from FEMA in every county across the state. We have prepositioned a lot of commodities, food, water, emergency generators and other emergency equipment all across the state to make sure that as we begin to see the effects of Hurricane Lane, we will have people and resources available to respond.

GREENE: Are you worried that if people see on - you know, get from the news that this has been downgraded to a Category 3 that they might sort of relax a little bit and not take the necessary precautions?

IGE: Yes. We have been. And I have been on television just reminding people that Hurricane Lane is still a very powerful storm, winds exceeding 120 miles per hour, and we need to be patient and listen to the forecast, but that Lane can wreak havoc in our community if it makes landfall.

GREENE: You've had quite a lot on your plate recently from Mother Nature. I think about the volcano that began erupting in May and now this hurricane. Is this putting a strain on your state?

IGE: Certainly, we have had our emergency responders who have been quite active on all islands across the state, and that has created challenges. I do think that we are a resilient community and the community has responded well. So certainly, it has been a very hectic and trying time in terms of responding to natural disasters, but it is something that brings our community together.

GREENE: Governor David Ige of Hawaii. We appreciate you joining us this morning, Governor, and we'll all be thinking about you. Hope that storm stays offshore and doesn't make landfall and that everybody's safe.

IGE: Thank you so much. I appreciate that. Aloha. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.