Hurricane Lane Strengthens to a Category 5 Storm

Flood watches are in place for parts of southern Wisconsin on Tuesday

The storm could potentially bring "damaging winds and life-threatening flash flooding from heavy rainfall" to the islands, the Hurricane Center warned.

UPDATE: #Lane is officially a risky category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 160mph.

The weather service said tropical-storm-force winds could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon or evening on the Big Island.

Hurricane Lane now a strong Category 4 with an increasing chance of affecting Hawaii.

Tropical storm-force winds and torrential rain could start arriving on Wednesday. Bands of heavy rain will dump as much as 20 inches moving northward across the state, according to the CPHC.

After smashing into the Big Island, the storm is expected to head north over the islands of Maui, Lanai and Moloka'i which were all under hurricane and flash flood watches.

"Please take this threat seriously and hopefully when this is over you can say, 'ha, we did all that for nothing, '" Kim said.

In other words, Lane is likely to maintain hurricane strength when it makes a close approach or direct strike on the Big Island on Thursday.

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A hurricane watch has been issued for Oahu and Kauai.

Should hurricane-force winds materialize, it would result in "considerable roof damage to sturdy buildings", severe damage to mobile homes, "many large trees snapped or uprooted", "impassable" roads and power outages, the National Weather Service said. "Tropical storm conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area beginning Thursday into Thursday night, with hurricane conditions possible late Thursday night into Friday".

Residents are stocking up on essentials are they prepare for Lane to reach Hawaii.

State offices on Hawaii Island and Maui will be closed Wednesday through Friday, as the governor announced that nonessential state employees in the two counties will be put on administrative leave.

Landfalling hurricanes are very rare in Hawaii, as the Central Pacific does not normally see as many storms as the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands present a very small target in the vast Pacific Ocean. That means all University of Hawaiʻi campuses and all non-essential university operations on Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānai will be closed until further notice. It is too early to predict which, if any, of the islands will be directly impacted.

A hurricane watch has been posted for Maui Counties and Hawaii Island.

"We encourage all the people across the state to pay attention for this storm", Ige said.

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