Hurricane Lane strengthens to category 5 as it heads for Hawaii


But "Lane is forecast to remain a risky hurricane as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands", the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, based in Honolulu, said. Lane is making a northerly turn toward the Hawaiian Islands, increasing wind and weather impacts to the islands through the rest of the week - all islands are now under a hurricane watch or warning.

Earlier Tuesday, the weather service issued a hurricane warning for Hawaii island.

Also Tuesday, Gov. David Ige and Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim signed emergency proclamations ahead of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Lane.

Lane may weaken even further - to Category 3 - by Thursday afternoon and even fall to a Category 2 by Friday with winds up to 110 miles per hour and its center west of Hawaii Island and south of Honolulu.

Preparations there are now being rushed to completion as tropical-storm force winds are forecast to arrive in the warning area by late Wednesday or early Thursday. Bands of heavy rain will dump as much as 20 inches moving northward across the state, according to the CPHC. Especially in this high terrain, such rainfall could lead to devastating flash flooding and mudslides. Everyone should take this hurricane very seriously and should prepare accordingly.

While Lane's strength is expected to weaken slightly upon its approach to the Hawaiian islands, it was still expected to remain a risky hurricane. In Maui County, damaging winds could begin as early as Thursday afternoon, with risky hurricane force winds possible starting on Thursday night.

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Hurricane Lane remains a Category 5 storm with 160 miles per hour winds. Honolulu, the state's largest city and capital, is on the island of O'ahu. It's possible Oahu and Kauai may later be included in a weather service advisory for the hurricane.

While there is still considerable uncertainty in the forecast for Lane, it appears the storm will be passing close enough to the islands on Thursday and Friday to bring significant impacts to the southern portions of the islands, especially along the coastline.

Some Hawaii public schools will be closed until further notice.

UPDATE: Category 4 Hurricane Lane now has winds of 150 mph, west motion at 12 mph and is less than 500 miles away from Hawaii. In 2014, two hurricanes appeared ready to hit Hawaii with a one-two punch, the Associated Press reported at the time.

"We're not a sheltering place for the community", she said, explaining that during the January false missile alert a lot of people sought refuge at the facility.

"I remember how very little rain fell".