Hurricane Warnings, State of Emergency Issued for Hawaii

Aug 22, 2018

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As major hurricane Lane starts its turn northward to the Hawaiian islands, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has issued hurricane warnings for the Big Island and Maui, and the Hawaiian governor has declared a state of emergency.

As of 5:00pm ET (11:00am Hawaiian), the storm packed maximum sustained winds of 155mph, making it a Category 4 major hurricane just shy of the 157mph wind speed required for a Category 5 hurricane.

The good news is that the storm is expected to weaken as it turns northward, and the center of circulation is expected to stay offshore. If this forecast is accurate, the compact 40-mile wide hurricane-force wind field will remain offshore.

At this point, the Hurricane Center computes an 15% chance that Lanai City will get hurricane-force winds in the next five days. No other Hawaiian city has a higher probability at this time. While Honolulu is likely to get tropical storm-force winds (61%), the chances of getting hurricane-force winds is just 4% over the next five days.

This is the key takeaway from the Hurricane Center:

Lane is forecast to move dangerously close to the main Hawaiian Islands as a hurricane [Thursday] through Saturday, potentially bringing damaging winds. As Lane will be slow-moving as it nears the islands, prolonged heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding will be possible. Large and damaging surf can be expected along exposed shorelines, along with localized storm surge.

As of 1:00pm Eastern (7:00am Hawaiian time) on Wednesday, the following airlines have issued weather waivers:

Alaska

  • 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 23-24
  • 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 21-27
  • 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.

Delta

  • Travel dates: August 23-26
  • Airports covered: Honolulu, HI (HNL); Kona, HI (KOA); Lihue, HI (LIH); Maui, HI (OGG)
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: August 30
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: August 30
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond August 30, 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.

United

  • 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.

Featured image by NOAA via Twitter.

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