Hawaii braces for 'life threatening' hit from Hurricane Lane

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The forecast puts the storm very close to the islands, with a direct landfall possible later this week.

Experts believe it could uproot trees, which would lead to rivers overflowing their banks.

Hurricane Lane could make landfall on any or multiple islands, and may bring strong winds, heavy rains, flooding, high surf and storm surges.

"One thing is for sure, the coast will continue to feel the impacts of swell, gradually increasing with the approaching storm to a peak around mid-week with strong surf (large waves for some of the well-exposed areas)", Warren said. Hurricane watches are in effect for Maui, Oahu, and other small islands.

Winds and flooding may make locations uninhabitable for weeks and authorities warned residents to be prepared to evacuate their homes.

It is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian Islands will be directly impacted by Lane.

In this scenario, 10 to 15 inches of rain would be possible over the island chain, with 20 inches or more not out of the question in the mountains.

Tropical-storm-force winds - 39-73 miles per hour - and rain could arrive at the Big Island and Maui County late Wednesday and early Thursday, and at the other islands Thursday or Friday. The storm's path is still far from certain, with the National Hurricane Center's cone of uncertainty still showing a wide swath from Thursday onward.

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Hawaii Governor David Ige is allowing non-essential state employees on the Big Island and Maui to go on administrative leave from Wednesday to Friday as the hurricane approaches. After Lane makes its turn to the northwest Wednesday to Thursday, track and intensity forecasts remain uncertain because of the interaction with island mountains and increasing vertical wind shear.

While Lane is likely to weaken as it moves closer to Hawaii, Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll told USA TODAY that the hurricane will deliver a combination of torrential rainfall, high winds and unsafe surf as early as Wednesday.

Hurricane Lane is tracking closer to the Hawaiian isles.

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.

Officials were urging residents across the islands to prepare. Damaging winds from the storm could hit the Big Island as early as this afternoon.

It is time to check emergency plans and supplies, the weather service said.

Bands of intense showers and thunderstorms surrounding Lane will begin to spread across the state from the Southeast, reaching the Big Island later this morning.

He reminded people to have emergency kits ready and to "withdraw cash".

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