'Potentially devastating': Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii

'Potentially devastating': Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii

Weather officials warn the island chain will see high surf, rip currents, winds and heavy rain.

The storm's central pressure dropped as low as 929 millibars, making it the most intense hurricane (as measured by pressure) since Patricia in 2015 in the eastern half of the northern Pacific Ocean.

At the time of writing, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has classified Lane as a potent Category 5 hurricane. More so than in certain regions of the US southeast, large-scale evacuations are challenging on Hawaii's remote, cramped islands. While the European (ECMWF) model shows a large area of drier air moving in with the easterly trade wind flow.

While Lane's strength is expected to weaken slightly upon its approach to the Hawaiian islands, it was still expected to remain a risky hurricane.

It is not certain what Hurricane Lane's path will be - whether it moves north or south.

The storm may bring torrential rain, with the potential for "major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides".

Hawaii has been plagued by freak natural events this year after a 30,000 foot high ash cloud from the Kilauea volcano blanketed the island in lava and dust.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, according to the National Weather Service's (NWS) Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

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A hurricane warning issued Tuesday evening remains in effect for Hawaii County.

The National Weather Service says Hurricane Lane has strengthened to become a Category 5 hurricane, which means that it is likely to cause catastrophic damage with winds of 157 miles per hour or above.

Public schools on the Big Island and in Maui County closed Wednesday until further notice.

- Storm total rainfall amounts of 10-15 inches, isolated amounts of 20 inches possible.

Mr. Ige signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday that will provide disaster relief if needed and granted leave to nonessential state employees in Maui and Hawai'i counties until the end of the week.

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. Storm surge is also likely to be an issue, but which locations see surge, and how high it is, will depend on the exact track of the storm.

Hawaiian islands remain vulnerable as category 4 Hurricane Lane passes south of the Big Island. It is the costliest hurricane in Hawaii history.

"I remember how very little rain fell".