Hawaii is bracing for a rare event this week, as major Hurricane Lane tracks toward the state - the first hurricane to make such a close approach to the chain since 2014.
The hurricane is about 500 miles (804km) south east of Honolulu, the capital. If the storm pursues more of a westerly course, it may just brush the islands.
Islanders are being warned the risky Category 4 storm could bring winds with a maximum sustained speed of 150mph and flash flooding as early as Thursday.
The weather service said it is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian Islands will be directly impacted by Lane. In this case, the watch means that at least tropical storm-force winds are expected within 48 hours.
The gas lines were long at Costco in Kahului on Tuesday as Hurricane Lane approached the Hawaiian Islands. "If the storm were to make a significant impact on the island of Oahu, in particular, it could cause flooding at Honolulu International Airport, the oil refinery at Barbers Point, and several large military installations, including Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam", it noted.
Hurricane Lane is now about 450 miles south-southeast of Kaliua Kona, which is on the west side of the Big Island, or about 620 miles southeast of Honolulu, according to Leigh Anne Eaton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office.
State and County Emergency Management Agency officials are urging residents to stay up-to-date and prepare for Hurricane Lane.
Hurricane Lane's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 160 miles per hour with higher gusts.
According to the latest Forecast Discussion, "Lane remains a powerful hurricane this afternoon, with a well-developed warm eye completely surrounded by persistent cold cloud tops".
Hurricane Lane "is forecast to move dangerously close to the main Hawaiian islands as a hurricane later this week, potentially bringing damaging winds and life-threatening flash flooding from heavy rainfall", the weather services Central Pacific Hurricane Center warned as it got closer to the state.
Even if the center of Lane doesn't make landfall, the islands could be walloped with rain and wind.
After smashing into the Big Island, the storm is expected to head north over the islands of Maui, Lanai and Moloka'i which were all under hurricane and flash flood watches. Storm surge is also likely to be an issue, but which locations see surge, and how high it is, will depend on the exact track of the storm. Mount Kilauea began producing lava flows in early May and portions of the southeastern coastline of the Big Island have been transformed by the lava flows that covered over 13 square miles (35 square kilometers).
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