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Hurricane Lane: Holiday hotspot braced for LIFE THREATENING conditions

Hurricane Lane: Holiday hotspot braced for LIFE THREATENING conditions

Hurricane Lane, weakening to a Category 4 storm as it pushes through the Pacific, is still as much as three days away from Hawaii but is already bringing heavy rain to the Big Island. Lane was centered 315 miles south of Kailua-Kona, and moving west northwest at 9 mph.

The weather service predicted continued weakening in the next 48 hours but said Lane is expected to remain risky as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

Governor David Ige signs an emergency proclamation ahead of Hurricane Lane. Iniki made landfall on Kauai as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, becoming just the second hurricane to come ashore on the islands in recorded history.

Hawaii residents rushed to stores to stock up on bottled water, ramen, toilet paper and other supplies as they faced the threat of heavy rain, flash flooding and high surf as a strengthening hurricane continued to churn toward the state.

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

"I helped out with Hurricane Iniki, I was in the military and came over here when they had the devastation, so I kind of see the after effects of it", he said.

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But, Lane is the closest Category 5 storm to Hawaii that scientists have ever observed, he added.

On the south side of the Big Island, workers at Mizuno Superette in Pahala also were bracing for a busy afternoon.

The combination of a deep moist unstable layer and strong low level wind shear along and to the east of the track of Lane will make tornadoes and large waterspouts a distinct possibility in the rainbands across the right semicircle of the hurricane.

Large waves are already being experienced along the eastern edge of Hawaii, with a "sizable swell already propagating out from this storm, which is now impacting the eastern exposures throughout the Hawaiian Islands, showing strongest along the Hilo Side of the Big Island", according to Jonathan Warren, lead forecaster for Surfline.com. A hurricane watch was in effect for Oahu and Kauai. Isolated areas of the islands could see more than 20 inches.

So far, Maui County is the first to announce it will be opening shelters starting Wednesday at 2 p.m. In 2014, two hurricanes appeared ready to hit Hawaii with a one-two punch, the Associated Press reported at the time. Iselle was a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour before weakening into a tropical storm at landfall. Hurricane Iniki, the most powerful Hawaiian hurricane recorded before Lane, killed six people, injured more than 1,000 and caused $1.8 billion in damage back in 1992, according to TK.

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