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Most of Hawaii Under Hurricane Warning as Category 4 Lane Approaches

Aug. 23, 2018
4 min read
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Category 4 Hurricane Lane's predicted northward turn has begun, moving the storm critically close to Hawaii. Ahead of the powerful storm's arrival, both Hawaii's governor and the Trump administration have declared states of emergency — freeing up disaster relief funds for the Hawaiian islands.

As of the 11:00am ET (5:00am Hawaiian) Central Pacific Hurricane Center advisory, Hurricane Lane has maintained its 130mph top sustained wind speed — keeping it barely a Category 4 hurricane. A hurricane warning is active for the islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe and the Big Island.

The forecast still predicts the core of the powerful hurricane will remain off the coast. With hurricane-force winds extending no further than 35 miles from the center of circulation, this means that Hawaii should be spared the worst wind damage. Currently the city with the highest risk of hurricane force winds is Lanai City, with only a 7% chance of hurricane-force winds expected in the next five days. Larger cities of Kailua-Kona (2%) and Honolulu (1%) are predicted to have almost no chance of getting hurricane-force winds.

However, the hurricane center warns of "excessive rainfall" up to 30 inches and "dangerous storm surge" of up to four feet will make the hurricane's presence known. Parts of the Big Island has already been doused with up to eight inches of rain.

We haven't seen mass flight cancellations yet. But many airlines have released weather waivers to let flexible travelers plan around the storm. As of 11:00am Eastern (5:00am Hawaiian time) on Thursday, the following airlines have issued weather waivers for Hurricane Lane:


  • Travel dates: August 22-25
  • Airports covered: Kauai (LIH); Kona (KOA); Maui (OGG); Oahu (HNL)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 21
  • Rebook travel anytime between now and August 30
  • Change fees and difference in price waived if you don’t change your origin or destination city and rebook in same cabin.
  • You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded prior to the departure of your original flight.

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: August 23-26
  • Airports covered: Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL); Kona, Hawaii (KOA); Kauai Island, Hawaii (LIH); Kahului, Hawaii (OGG)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 20
  • Rebook travel anytime between August 21-30
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.


  • Travel dates: August 23-24 (previously was through August 26)
  • Airports covered: Honolulu, HI (HNL); Kona, HI (KOA); Lihue, HI (LIH); Maui, HI (OGG); Seoul, South Korea (ICN)
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: August 27 (previously was August 30)
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: August 27 (previously was August 30)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 21 (new limitation)
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond August 27, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply.
  • If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance.

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Travel dates: August 21-26
  • Airports covered: Flights departing to/from/within/via the State of Hawaii (LIH/HNL/OGG/JHM/MKK/LNY/ITO/KOA)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 21
  • Rebook travel no later than September 9
  • Changes to origin and/or destination or connecting/stopover point will be permitted without change fee and are subject to applicable fare difference.


  • Travel dates: August 21-26
  • Airports covered: Hilo, HI (ITO); Honolulu, Oahu, HI (HNL); Kahului, Maui, HI (OGG); Kailua-Kona, HI (KOA); Lihue, HI (LIH)
  • Rebook travel anytime now through September 9
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

This storm serves as another reminder that we are in hurricane season. If you’re planning to travel to hurricane-prone areas — or even just currently cancellation-prone areas like the US Northeast — make sure to book the trip with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. I’ll be using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book flights going forward.