Due to threats posed by the incoming Hurrican Lane, the Government of Canada has issued a travel warning for all five Hawaiin islands.
The storm is now moving westward at 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) and should continue to move west through tonight.
Lane's expected track brings the storm very close to the islands, and potential interaction with mountainous islands keeps a level of uncertainty in the forecast.
It is not certain what Hurricane Lane's path will be - whether it moves north or south.
Bearing 250km/h winds, it threatened to dump as much as 50cm of rain over parts of the islands, triggering major flash flooding and landslides.
Although any year can bring warmer waters to a marine region, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and university scientists published research last year arguing that the tropical Pacific will likely see more "extremely active" hurricane seasons as human-caused global warming boosts ocean temperatures. It's possible Oahu and Kauai may later be included in an advisory for the hurricane.
Tropical-storm-force winds - 39-73 miles per hour - and rain could arrive at the Big Island and Maui County late Wednesday and early Thursday, and at the other islands Thursday or Friday.
Clocking in with maximum sustained winds of 315 mph, Lane was located around 460 miles from Kailua-Kona and xxx miles from Honolulu and was headed west-northwest at 9 mph at 5 a.m., according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Lane represented another kind of rarity: It was a Category 5 storm late Tuesday before weakening Wednesday morning.
Large waves are already being experienced along the eastern edge of Hawaii, with a "sizable swell already propagating out from this storm, which is now impacting the eastern exposures throughout the Hawaiian Islands, showing strongest along the Hilo Side of the Big Island", according to Jonathan Warren, lead forecaster for Surfline.com.
Residents of the islands descended on grocery stores and hardware stores to stock up ahead of the storm, and there were long lines at gas stations, according to local media reports.
Hawaiian islands remain vulnerable as category 4 Hurricane Lane passes south of the Big Island.
The proclamation declares the counties of Hawai'i, Maui, Kalawao, Kaua'i and the City and County of Honolulu disaster areas for the goal of implementing emergency management functions.
In this scenario, 10 to 15 inches of rain would be possible over the island chain, with 20 inches or more not out of the question in the mountains. 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.
Lane could become the first hurricane to directly make landfall in Honolulu since Hawaii became a state, Axios reported.
Computer models mostly do not predict the storm to make a direct hit on the islands, which would be the worst-case scenario.
The state is bracing for a powerful punch: The governor has declared an emergency, and all public schools on the Big Island and Maui are closed.
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