But, Lane is the closest Category 5 storm to Hawaii that scientists have ever observed, he added. It must be ready for winds of more than 100 miles per hour, rain between 10 to 16 inches and high surf on the south shore.
In other words, Lane is likely to maintain hurricane strength when it makes a close approach or direct strike on the Big Island on Thursday.
Hawaii has been plagued by freak natural events this year after a 30,000 foot high ash cloud from the Kilauea volcano blanketed the island in lava and dust. The last hurricane to make a direct hit on the islands was in 1992 and that was Hurricane Iniki. "Tropical storm conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area beginning Thursday into Thursday night, with hurricane conditions possible late Thursday night into Friday".
A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for Hawaii Island as powerful Hurricane Lane continues to move west northwest towards the state.
Lane is an extremely strong Category 4 hurricane, bordering on Category 5, with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles an hour.
There has never been a Category 5 storm this close to the state.
Damaging tropical-storm-force winds on the Big Island could start as early as this afternoon or evening, with risky hurricane force winds possible by tonight, and moving into Maui and Oahu by Thursday.
Officials have encouraged residents to stock up on supplies and prepare their homes for the storm, creating scenes more familiar in southeastern USA states. Weather officials say Lane can bring 10 - 15 inches of rain in some spots, but may be higher in other areas.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige said employees on Hawaii and Maui islands who work in disaster response as well as in hospitals and prisons were required to report to their jobs. "I've not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I've seen with this storm". It is the costliest hurricane in Hawaii history.
According to data provided by the center, Lane's expected to be about 325 miles south-southeast of Kailua-Kona and 275 miles south-southeast of South Point by 6 a.m. today.
Earlier this month, Hurricane Hector followed a similar path toward Hawaii but stayed south of the islands.
"But I remember the wind being the strongest force of nature I've ever witnessed and probably the scariest sounds I've ever heard in my life".
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