Hurricane Lane now at Category 4, continues towards Hawaii

Hurricane Lane 5-day forecast track. 11 p.m

Hurricane Lane 5-day forecast track. 11 p.m

In fact, Hawaii has weathered landfalls from only two tropical storms and two hurricanes since 1959, CNN reported.

"If you haven't started getting prepared yet, folks, let's start doing that right now", said the National Weather Service.

Lane is one of the strongest storms to ever move over the Hawaiian Islands.The Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasts continue to show that all islands are at risk from direct effects from the core of Hurricane Lane.

The Category 4 storm's unsafe center could make landfall this week, but even if it doesn't, it should draw close to the islands Thursday through Saturday, bringing destructive winds and as many as 20 inches of rain onshore, forecasters said. The current forecast track has the storm making a turn to the northwest sometime Wednesday into Thursday, with the center expected to pass close to the islands of Hawaii and Maui starting on Thursday.

Hawaii Govenor David Ige is allowing non-essential state employees on the Big Island and Maui to go on administrative leave.

Forecasters expect it to turn northwest and then to the north-northwest tomorrow, bringing it "dangerously close" to the island chain. Note that the strands are clustered together where the forecast track is most confident, but they diverge where the course of the storm is less certain.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Big Island and Maui as islanders brace for potential effects from Hurricane Lane. Heavy rains and floods are a significant threat, regardless of how close Lane comes to land.

The next 24 hours will determine whether or not Hawaii has to face the full force of the massive storm, until then the only thing to do is prepare and wait.

It's rare for hurricanes to hit Hawaii because an area of high pressure that sits to the northeast of the islands steers the hurricanes away.

As of the 5AM HST, Major Hurricane Lane dropped a notch to a Cat 4 cyclone with 135kt sustained winds. Hawaii-based Navy aircraft will be secured in hangars or flown to other airfields to avoid the effects of the hurricane.

Schools on the Big Island and in Maui County have already been closed until further notice.

The entire island of Oahu could be impacted by the storm, he said. Tropical storms, on the other hand, sweep by the islands much more regularly, frequently as the dying remnants of a more-intense system from the eastern Pacific. "A lot of people are comparing the similarities between Iniki and Lane", he said.

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