Powerful Hurricane Lane headed toward Hawaii

Hawaii residents told to brace for 150mph winds and flash flooding from Hurricane Lane

Major Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 storm, is heading toward Hawaii, forecasters warn

Lane, which is packing winds as high as 150 miles per hour, is churning west in the Pacific, but forecasters expect it to start turning toward the northwest, putting the Hawaiian islands in its probable path.

As Lane moves up from the southeast, the earliest potential threat to land will be for the Big Island, where a Hurricane Warning is now in effect.

Authorities send the storm was centred about 400 miles (644km) south-southeast of Hilo on Big Island on Tuesday shortly after 5am local time.

As of Tuesday morning, the eye of the hurricane was located well to the southeast of the island chain, and was moving west at about 14 km/h.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles. Weather officials say Lane can bring 10 - 15 inches of rain in some spots, but may be higher in other areas. The last was Hurricane John in 1994.

Lane's maximum sustained winds are almost 160 mph, the National Weather Service said, which will slowly weaken over the next 48 hours.

A hurricane watch is in effect for several of the islands, including Maui and Lanai, as impacts from the storm are expected to reach the islands starting on Wednesday.

A statement added: "Large swells generated by Lane will impact the Hawaiian Islands this week". These swells will produce large and potentially damaging surf along exposed south and west facing shorelines.

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According to the latest forecast track, Lane is slated to remain a unsafe hurricane when its center moves very close or over parts of the state Thursday through Saturday.

"Data from the NOAA P-3 aircraft indicate that Lane has strengthened to a category 5 hurricane, and this special advisory represents an update to the current intensity, and the forecast intensity through the first 36 hours", the forecasters reported.

Landfalling hurricanes are very rare in Hawaii, as the Central Pacific does not normally see as many storms as the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands present a very small target in the vast Pacific Ocean.

As Hurricane Lane takes a sharp turn north toward the islands Wednesday - and moves into cooler Pacific water - it is expected to weaken significantly, going from Category 5 now to possibly Category 1 by Friday.

The biggest impact is likely to be on the Big Island Thursday and Friday. "Interests throughout Hawaii are urged to closely monitor the progress of Lane during the next few days". Deep tropical moisture associated with Lane will spread across all islands.

Hurricane Lane, 5-day forecast track., 6:30 p.m. 8.21.18.

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