Hurricane Lane strengthens to Cat 5 as it heads toward Hawaii: NHC

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"It is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian Islands will be directly impacted by Lane", the Hurricane Center said.

Earlier Tuesday, the weather service issued a hurricane warning for Hawaii island and a hurricane watch for Oahu, Maui and other smaller islands, meaning tropical storm-force winds, excessive rain and large swells could arrive starting Wednesday.

Hurricane Lane is a risky Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of 160mph. We take a look at the expected impacts from this storm, and why it's so rare, below.

CPHC stated "Major Hurricane Lane is passing roughly 280 miles south of the Big Island this morning and has started a turn towards the northwest in line with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecast".

A direct hit could bring the U.S. Pacific island state's worst storm in a quarter century, forecasters said.

The storm's unsafe center could make landfall as it moves past the islands from Thursday through Saturday.

"Isolated rainfall amounts of 20" + are possible.

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Stores along Waikiki's glitzy Kalakaua Avenue stacked sandbags along the bottom of their glass windows to prepare for flash flooding. This may lead to unsafe rip currents. Note that the strands are clustered together where the forecast track is most confident, but they diverge where the course of the storm is less certain.

President Donald Trump urged residents to prepare for the storm, which was expected to bring torrential rains, high winds and risky surf. The next closest storm of such strength to approach the islands was John in 1994.

The most powerful storm on record hitting Hawaii was the Category 4 Hurricane Iniki, which made landfall on Kauai island on September 11, 1992. These are two of of only ten tropical cyclones on record to make landfall on one of the islands. Watches may be extended to the western islands, the Hurricane Center said.

He said the priority at this point was to ensure residents were prepared for the storm. The warmer water temperature and weak wind shear will likely weaken Lane. The water between the west coast of Mexico and Hawaii tends to trend slightly colder, thanks to cold ocean currents that run down the west coast of North America and upwelling of deep ocean waters.

The hurricane is about 500 miles (804km) south east of Honolulu, the capital. Notice how they are largely clustered to the south and southeast of the state.

The threat of Hurricane Lane does not deter NY visitors, Leo Wahl, 7, mom, Valerie Wahl and Ian Walh, 9, from strolling along the ocean near the Hilton Hawaiian Village as Hurricane Lane approaches Waikiki Beach on Thursday, August 23, 2018.

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