Hurricane Lane weakens slightly as it approaches isles

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Southern and southeastern areas of the island can also expect similar wind conditions as the leeward areas, however, rainfall could total more than 2 feet in areas of Ka'u.

Residents will experience extremely powerful winds, heavy rain, storm surge and potentially even tornadoes and waterspouts as the hurricane progresses, according to a statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service.

Residents are bracing for "life threatening" winds and flooding conditions as Hurricane Lane charges towards the Big Island.

The storm may maintain peak winds of 100 miles per hour even into Friday, when it is projected to be just south of Maui and Oahu, before weakening to tropical storm intensity over the weekend.

But the hurricane centre said the storm will move very close to or over the islands between Thursday and Saturday. The forecast track for Lane continues on a northwest path today before turning more north-northwest on Thursday.

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. Those in the Hawaiian Islands should keep a vigilant eye on Lane and follow the Central Pacific Hurricane Center for the latest details on the protection of life and property. A hurricane watch was in effect for Oahu and Kauai.

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.

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Packing sustained winds of up to 155 miles per hour, Lane is a high-end Category 4 hurricane.

UPDATE: Category 4 Hurricane Lane now has winds of 150 mph, west motion at 12 mph and is less than 500 miles away from Hawaii.

On Tuesday morning, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, based in Honolulu, posted hurricane watches for the eastern Hawaiian Islands, including the Big Island and Maui, as tropical-storm force winds and heavy rain could effect those areas as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.

Given the multiple hazards posed by the storm and the island chain's vulnerability, emergency management and local officials have pleaded with residents to prepare.

Governor David Ige signs an emergency proclamation ahead of Hurricane Lane.

It's not possible to know which islands will see the worst storm effects right now due to the close proximity of the hurricane track to the Hawaiian Islands and uncertainties in Lane's track caused by increasing wind shear through the atmosphere as it moves northward. It is the costliest hurricane in Hawaii history.

This is a historic storm.#HurricaneLane is the strongest hurricane to ever threaten Hawaii, and the first Category 5 on record to come this close to the islands.