Hurricane Lane's eye seen in dramatic video as storm churns toward Hawaii

While the storm has gained strength over the past day and is only 7 mph shy of Category 5 strength, the Hurricane Center predicts it to begin slowly weakening over the next 24 hours due to increasing wind shear, which would disrupt thunderstorm development.

The hurricane was about 465 miles (804 kilometers) southeast of Honolulu before dawn Wednesday and The National Weather Service extended a hurricane warning for Hawaii's Big Island to include the island of Maui. Roofs and walls will collapse.

A hurricane warning is in effect on Hawaii's Big Island and Maui, while a hurricane watch has been issued for the island of Kauai.

The last category five storm to come this close to Hawaii was John in 1994.

Hurricane watches and warnings from the National Weather Service were in effect Wednesday for several of the islands, including the Big Island, Maui and Kauai. A hurricane watch remained in effect for Oahu and other smaller islands. The National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center expects Lane to move very close to over Hawaii from Thursday through Saturday.

As Hurricane Lane hurtles toward Hawaii, images captured from space show the full extent of the massive storm.

The US Central Pacific Hurricane Center on Wednesday downgraded Hurricane Lane to a Category 4, the second-strongest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of wind intensity.

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Commanders of ships that are undergoing maintainence and are unable to leave port have been authorised to drop anchor, add additional mooring and storm lines, and disconnect power cable connected them to shore. Forecasters cautioned that the most torrential rainfall can be expected as Lane makes its closest approach and it could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides.

Sandbags are seen near a stairway at the west end of the Sheraton Waikiki hotel in Honolulu in preparation for Hurricane Lane.

Hurricane Lane, which is currently churning out in the Pacific Ocean, is now a Category 4 storm and is poised to make landfall in Hawaii.

According to Snyder, Mayor Kim said the county is "checking, re-checking and checking again" the island's dry wells, which are receptacles for storm runoff, "to make sure that they're going to do the job, to make sure they're clear of debris".

In addition to strong winds, the primary threats will be rough surf, coastal erosion, and heavy rainfall, even if the center of the storm does not move directly over the islands.

Hawaii Governor David Ige issued an emergency proclamation for the storm and said state offices and public and charter schools would be closed until further notice.

  • Douglas Reid