Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Lane at its peak intensity on Aug. 22, 2018. Photo: NOAA

Hurricane Lane has come closer to Hawaii than any Category 5 storm has come in modern records, and it threatens to unleash life-threatening destruction as it approaches the islands starting late Wednesday and lasting into Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Why it matters: The storm's exact track is still uncertain, with some computer models projecting it will zip out to sea south of Hawaii, and others showing a devastating near-direct hit on one or more islands. Official forecasts show it will come close enough to produce damaging winds, deadly flash floods from upwards of 2 feet of rain, and pounding "extreme" surf. Waves could exceed 20 feet on south facing shorelines.

The big picture: The storm was upgraded to Category 5 status overnight, but weakened slightly to a strong Category 4 storm on Wednesday morning, eastern time. Hawaii has only been directly hit by two hurricanes in its history: Category 4 Hurricane Iniki, which devastated the island of Kauai in 1992, and Hurricane Dot in 1959. According to weather.com, there is no record of a hurricane track within 65 nautical miles of either Maui or Honolulu since statehood.

The dangers ahead:

  • The state's inexperience with intense hurricanes makes it more vulnerable to such storms, because residents may not know how to prepare for these events.
  • Its building codes and low-lying critical infrastructure — such as Honolulu International Airport, an oil refinery at Barbers Point, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam — are vulnerable to storm surge flooding and wind damage.

What we're watching: The storm is moving in a more west-northwesterly direction, and is expected to make a more north-northwesterly turn overnight. A hurricane warning is in effect for the Big Island of Hawaii, since that island will first feel Lane's effects. A hurricane warning is also in effect for Maui, while a hurricane watch is up for Oahu and Kauai.

  • The current forecast storm track from the NHC shows the center of Hurricane Lane remaining offshore, but close enough to the islands to bring high winds, heavy rain, and coastal flooding. The gusty rainbands have already begun lashing the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Hurricane Lane is expected to remain a major hurricane of Category 3 intensity or greater through at least early Thursday.
  • The biggest threat Lane poses to Hawaii will come in the form of water: Both heavy rains and coastal flooding.

A look at the eye of the storm from NOAA reconnaissance flights:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

The bomb cyclone and atmospheric river seen via satellite on Sunday. The center of the storm is at the middle of the comma shape, due west of Washington State. (CIRA/RAMMB)

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Manchin, Schumer huddle with Biden in Delaware to discuss spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and Sen. Joe Manchin at the U.S. Capitol in 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will meet with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Delaware as Democrats look to reach an agreement on the massive spending measure.

Driving the news: Democrats are still negotiating what to keep in the bill and how to pay for it, with Biden saying on Thursday that the party does not have the votes to raise the corporate tax rate.