Hawaii

Flooding rains inundate parts of Hawaii after Hurricane Lane's winds diminish

A car is stuck partially submerged in floodwaters from Hurricane Lane rainfall on the Big Island. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Although Hurricane Lane has weakened to a tropical storm, it’s moisture is dumping on Hawaii — as warned. 44 inches and counting have flooded the entirety of the Big Island, and a flood warning has been issued for Maui too.

The big picture: Historically, water is a top hurricane killer. And while Hurricane Lane is virtually diminished as an organized tropical cyclone, its torrential rains are tormenting the islands.

Hurricane Lane is defying the odds in taking on Hawaii

Note: Temperature anomalies are relative to the 1985 to 2012 average; Data: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Map: Chris Canipe/Axios

Hurricane Lane is already a landmark storm, having set a record for the strongest hurricane to get so close to Hawaii since modern records began. It could soon set more milestones if it moves within 65 nautical miles of Maui and Oahu on Friday and Saturday.

Why this matters: Hawaii has historically been protected against hurricanes because sea surface temperatures near the islands are typically too cold to support a significant tropical cyclone. That's not the case this year, and is not expected to be the case in the future as the ocean warms in response to increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the air.