Hurricane Lane, a unsafe Category 4 storm, headed toward Hawaii

This NASA satellite imagery shows Hurricane Lane in the Central Pacific Ocean southeast of the Hawaiian Islands at 2:01 p.m. HST Monday Aug. 20 2018. National Weather Service forecasters warn that the entire state of Hawaii needs to brace

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is allowing non-essential state employees on the Big Island and Maui to go on administrative leave from Wednesday to Friday as Hurricane Lane approaches. Hurricanes Dot and Iniki, as well as the majority of major hurricanes shown in NOAA's database reached their maximum intensity either far to the south or southeast of the islands.

Cooler and drier air will move in behind the storm. Over the next day, the storm is predicted to turn more to the north, but how sharply is the critical question.

"On its forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday Saturday".

The storm is now moving westward at 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) and should continue to move west through tonight.

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. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or unsafe.

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According to NOAA's historical hurricane database, only 12 hurricanes have passed within 370 km of the major islands in the Hawaiian chain since 1950, the last of which was 2014's Hurricane Ana.

The gas lines were long at Costco in Kahului on Tuesday as Hurricane Lane approached the Hawaiian Islands. Storm rainfall amounts of 10 to 15 inches with local amounts greater than 20 inches are possible.

Forecasters warned of large swells that could produce risky surf and strong currents along some shorelines.

Hurricane Lane's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 160 miles per hour with higher gusts.

The National Park Service says Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Parks will be closed Wednesday and Thursday in anticipation of high surf, heavy winds, and rain.

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While most hurricanes moving in from the east will struggle to maintain strength as they pass over the colder pool of water east of the Hawaiian Islands, the path Lane is projected to take - moving up from the south - gives it the best chance to stay organized, as warmer water does stretch closer to the islands on their south side.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion", the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters have issued a hurricane warning for Hawaii island (also known as Big Island) and a hurricane watch for Oahu, Maui and other smaller islands that make up the archipelago. I've not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I've seen with this storm.

The biggest impact is likely to be on the Big Island Thursday and Friday. Remember that life threatening weather conditions can extend well away from the center of the hurricane.

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