Hurricane Lane lashes Hawaii with torrential rains, flash floods

Scramble for food and water as Hurricane Lane approaches HawaiiMore

Lane, a Category 4 storm moving northwest at 7 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, will have its center "move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands" Thursday through Friday, the National Weather Service said Wednesday night local time.

Rain has started to fall in Hawaii as Hurricane Lane bears down on the state. Forecasters predict the storm's unsafe center could move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands later Thursday or Friday.

Tropical storm and hurricane conditions will occur over the course of the day Thursday on the Big Island and in Maui County, while Oahu will see those conditions Thursday night into Friday.

Early Thursday, the Category 4 storm was located about 230 miles south-southwest of Kailua-Kona and 335 miles south of Honolulu, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said in its latest update. Around 10-30 inches of rain is forecast through the weekend, prompting concern for landslides, which were blocking parts of Route 19 on the Big Island's northern tip, according to the county civil defense agency. Forecasters say the storm threatens to bring unsafe winds, landslides to Hawaii with ocean water and heavy rain causing major flooding.

Buses in Honolulu have been shuttling residents in need to shelters.

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Public schools were closed for the rest of the week and local government workers were told to stay home unless they're essential employees.

All of the islands are under weather alerts.

Citing a report from Consul General Joselito Jimeno, the DFA said a hurricane warning was already hoisted in the Big Island (Hawaii Island) and Maui, while a hurricane watch was in effect for Oahu, where Honolulu and Kauai Island are located. Oahu and Kauai are under a hurricane watch, meaning hurricane conditions are possible and that winds of at least 39 miles per hour are anticipated in the comings days.

The president issued the declaration on Wednesday.

Forecasters said the slow-moving storm would generate large swells in the coming days that would produce "very large and damaging surf" on shorelines facing west and south, likely triggering "significant coastal erosion".

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One of his advisers, Prabha Varma, told Reuters 186 people had died since August 8, when the waters began to rise. More than 7 lakh people have been displaced by the worst natural calamity the state has witnessed in a century.

WestJet has cancelled all its regularly scheduled flights in and out of Hawaii on Thursday and Friday because of the approaching hurricane bearing down on the Pacific islands.

The storm's unsafe center could make landfall as it moves past the islands from Thursday through Saturday. "The heavy rains will lead to landslides and hazardous travel!"

The eye was expected to sweep very close to or over the islands, 2,000 miles southwest of the mainland USA, sometime later Thursday.

The arrival of the storm's outer bands made the threat seem more real.

While the exact path of of Lane remains uncertain, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri says, the storm could weaken as it nears the islands.

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