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tourists shrug off Hurricane Lane

HONOLULU, Hawaii — Stores were jam packed, lines were long at gas stations and trailers carrying generators could be seen on the highways. But most people in Honolulu were relatively calm about the possibility of the island being hit by the first hurricane since Hawaii attained statehood in 1959.

Pearl Ng had a shopping cart full of ramen noodles, bottled water and a box of Fig Newtons as she shopped at the Safeway store near downtown.

“I’m not really worried. But better safe than sorry. And if it doesn’t happen, then we’ll have these in the cupboard,” she said.

More: As Hurricane Lane approaches Hawaii, Kilauea volcano simmers down

As of Wednesday night, Hurricane Lane, with maximum sustained winds at 145 mph, was about 270 miles from the Big Island of Hawaii and moving on a northwesterly course to pass close to the islands Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

An alert notice sent to all mobile phones in the Honolulu area on Wednesday afternoon to warn of Hurricane Lane’s arrival.
An alert notice sent to all mobile phones in the Honolulu area on Wednesday afternoon to warn of Hurricane Lane’s arrival. (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)

Forecasters can’t yet say whether the core of the storm’s winds will make landfall. But even if it is not a direct hit, Lane is expected to bring high winds, heavy rains, possible flash flooding and mudslides. Some areas could get as much as 20 inches of rain, according to the weather service.

The onset of damaging tropical storm-force winds could come as early as Thursday morning on the island of Hawaii and by Thursday night on Oahu, with hurricane force-winds possible Friday, the weather service said. Tornadoes and large waterspouts are also possibilities.

At a nearby Longs Drugs, lines stretched far back into the aisles and the bottled water and canned food aisles were almost picked clean by 5 p.m. local time. Heads popped up as almost every cell phone in the store began emitting the ominous blat tone of an emergency warning that was automatically sent to everyone in the area that a Hurricane Warning was in effect.

“That’s the first one I’ve got,” Sophie Granger said as she put her goods on the checkout conveyor. She was not buying up water but had grabbed a few batteries “just in case,” she said.

A sign at the Budget rental car pickup at the Honolulu airport warning travelers of the possible arrival of Hurricane Lane.
A sign at the Budget rental car pickup at the Honolulu airport warning travelers of the possible arrival of Hurricane Lane. (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)

In the parking lot, Justin Pagba was delivering a room-sized generator for Longs. He skillfully maneuvered the large trailer into place under some trees where it would be accessible to the store.

His company, Golden Equipment Transport of Waipahu, west of Honolulu, has been working hard since the hurricane emerged as a threat. He’s been delivering generators to Longs and CVS Pharmacy all day.

“We’ve set up five of these today and we’ve got another five scheduled for tomorrow,” he said.

The generators are enough to run an entire large store for 10-15 hours, he said. “But it’s just in case the power goes off,” he said.

While state and county officials have been encouraging residents and visitors to prepare for the worst, many weren’t all that concerned.

Leanne and Jeff Day of Sydney, Australia preparing for their visit to Honolulu, Hawaii as Hurricane Lane bears down on the state. The couple shrugged off the possible disaster, saying “You can’t control nature.”
Leanne and Jeff Day of Sydney, Australia preparing for their visit to Honolulu, Hawaii as Hurricane Lane bears down on the state. The couple shrugged off the possible disaster, saying “You can’t control nature.” (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)
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“It is what it is,” said Leanne Day of Sydney, Australia. She and her husband have spent the last two weeks touring the Hawaiian islands and are scheduled to leave on Saturday.

“Or not,” she said, laughing, as she and her husband picked up their rental car at the Honolulu airport.

“You can’t control nature,” Jeff Day said. “We get them in Australia, too. You just have to pay attention.”

“Though he did call the hotel and make sure that the parking wasn’t underground,” said his wife. “We didn’t know what the rental company would say if we had to call and say our car was underwater.”

Personal trainer Carla Magallanes and her family at the Honolulu airport. They had come to take part in the grueling Spartan obstacle race, but it had been cancelled as they flew to Hawaii from their home in Florida, due to the possible arrival of Hurricane Lane.
Personal trainer Carla Magallanes and her family at the Honolulu airport. They had come to take part in the grueling Spartan obstacle race, but it had been cancelled as they flew to Hawaii from their home in Florida, due to the possible arrival of Hurricane Lane. (Photo: Elizabeth Weise)

Carla Magallanes and her family arrived Wednesday night in Honolulu from Florida, where she and her daughter, Arianna, have been preparing to take part in a grueling sports obstacle competition called the Spartan Race.
“We’re used to this, being from Florida,

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