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The category 4 storm could slam into the islands Thursday with winds exceeding 100 miles per hour (161 kph), making it the most powerful storm to hit Hawaii since Hurricane Iniki in 1992. "It's in the closest proximity to Hawaii that a storm of this strength has ever been", said Janice Dean, senior meteorologist for Fox News.

Hawaii residents are bracing as Hurricane Lane slowly neared the islands Thursday.

Hawaii governor David Ige, who signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday, echoed the sentiment.

The Category 4 storm continued on its sluggish trek toward the Aloha state Thursday with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. They urged those needing the Molokai shelter to get there soon because of concerns the main highway on the south coast of the island could become impassable.

Schools are closed and local government workers have been told to stay home unless they are essential employees.

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The National Weather Service warned on Twitter on Thursday that the hurricane "will bring life threatening conditions across Hawaii through Saturday with damaging winds, unsafe surf, coastal storm surge and INTENSE FLOODING RAINS".

In May, the Big Island's Kilauea volcano erupted, causing earthquakes and sending lava bombs rocketing through the air.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii County. 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.

Instead, they must stay put and make sure they have enough supplies to outlast prolonged power outages and other potential emergencies. "I've not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I've seen with this storm". The storm is the latest in a series of misfortunes for the island chain.

Accuweather predicts that Hurricane Lane will be a slow moving storm, resulting in a long period of rain, high surf and risk of flooding.

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Federal officials have been working with Hawaiian utility managers to keep a close eye on the power grid, a major vulnerability in Puerto Rico past year when it was hit by Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm.

The NWS said the storm weakened slightly overnight but excessive rainfall would affect the Hawaiian islands into the weekend, "leading to significant and life-threatening flash flooding and landslides".

"When people experience large disasters where they lose their home, it's an emotional time", Penny said.

President Trump "swiftly approved" it, he said.

Through Saturday, 10-15 inches of rain are generally expected, with isolated amounts greater than 20 inches, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said.

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The downpours could also lead to landslides.


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