Hurricane Lane Looks Absolutely Massive From Space

Major Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 storm, is heading toward Hawaii, forecasters warn

After a miss to the south from Hector earlier in August, Lane looks poised to, at the very least, come even closer to the island chain later this week.

Lane's maximum sustained winds are almost 160 mph, the National Weather Service said, which will slowly weaken over the next 48 hours. Lane is making a northerly turn toward the Hawaiian Islands, increasing wind and weather impacts to the islands through the rest of the week - all islands are now under a hurricane watch or warning.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration has been sending multiple aircraft into and around the storm in order to help observe the hurricane and improve the forecast, providing a better idea of the threat Lane presents to Hawaii.

The Category 4 storm's unsafe center could make landfall this week, but even if it doesn't, it should draw close to the islands Thursday through Saturday, bringing destructive winds and as many as 20 inches of rain onshore, forecasters said.

"We expect it to gradually weaken as it gets closer to the islands", Chevalier said.

"Based on the current track of the storm, we made the decision to begin to sortie the Pearl Harbor-based ships", Fort said in a release.

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Current forecast models call for 25-35 miles per hour winds with gusts reaching 55 miles per hour for leeward areas of Hawaii Island from North Kona to about Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.

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Residents have reportedly been rushing to stock up on necessities to before the storm hits.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Hawaii and Maui counties.

As Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii, three dozen people from California were preparing Wednesday to leave for the islands to help in the relief effort.

Meteorologist Melissa Dye shortly before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday said the hurricane was 320 miles (515 kilometers) southeast of Hilo and moving north-northwest at about 9 mph (15 kph). Swell shifts SE/S across the southerly exposures and we are starting to see this more southerly swell show on local buoys. Offshore buoys also had detected wave action associated with the storm.

Damaging tropical storm force winds could begin as early as Wednesday night in Maui County, with risky hurricane force winds possible starting Thursday, the weather service said.

Sortie orders are given ahead of major storms in order to protect ships from structural damage they might incur in a more enclosed environment. He also said upper level winds, called shear, tend to be strong enough to tear storms apart. A hurricane watch was in effect for Oahu and Kauai.

"Hurricane Lane is not a well- behaved hurricane", the governor said in his emergency proclamation.

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