But Hurricane Lane looks poised to affect the Aloha State, and was about 480 miles southeast of Honolulu early Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, just above the Category 5 threshold.
In response to the calls to action, residents have been hoarding supplies, with reports of long lines and emptying shelves at grocery stores and other retailers.
Lane represented another kind of rarity: It was a Category 5 storm late Tuesday before weakening Wednesday morning.
Flash flooding and landslides are expected, with total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches, while certain areas in Hawaii may be deluged with more than 20 inches of rain. The storm's path was possible due to a weakened "subtropical ridge", a band of high pressure that typically shields the Hawaiian Islands from tropical storms. A hurricane watch was in effect for Oahu and Kauai.
For Honolulu, tropical storm winds are expected Thursday and hurricane force winds are possible Thursday night into Friday morning.
Current forecast models call for 25-35 miles per hour winds with gusts reaching 55 miles per hour for leeward areas of Hawaii Island from North Kona to about Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.
Hurricane Lane strengthened to a category 5 storm on Tuesday as it headed toward Hawaii, where residents prepared for "life threatening" winds and flooding when it hits the United States islands this week, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
The above map shows the tracks of storms that have reached Category 4 or 5 at some point in their lifespan, since 1950 - not including Hurricane Lane.
Is Lane Hawaii's most powerful hurricane ever?
Gov. David Ige urged residents on Tuesday to be prepared for "significant impact" from Hurricane Lane.
Hawaii generally sees about one storm strong enough to earn a name pass within 60 miles of the islands every four years.
The National Weather Service says the hurricane warning in effect for Hawaii's Big Island has been extended to the island of Maui.
Chula Vista firefighters head to Hawaii for hurricane relief
Computer models mostly do not predict the storm to make a direct hit on the islands, which would be the worst-case scenario. Lane could become the first hurricane to directly make landfall in Honolulu since Hawaii became a state, Axios reported .
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