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This NASA file image obtained August 20, 2018 shows Hurricane Lane when NASAs Aqua satellite passed overhead in mid-August 2018.

State and county officials said they were bracing for damaging wind, power outages, flooding rain and risky surf as the National Weather Service called a hurricane warning for Hawaii island and a hurricane watch for Oahu, joining the islands of Maui County. We take a look at the expected impacts from this storm, and why it's so rare, below.

Moderate size ESE swell from powerful Cat 4 Hurricane Lane continues to impact the eastern end of the Hawaiian Islands this afternoon, showing largest for the Hilo side of the Big Island and parts of the windward side of Maui.

Maui County - comprising the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe - is also at risk with the centre saying Lane was expected to "remain dangerous". This raises concerns for flash flooding and mudslides into early next week. As Lane is expected to be slow-moving as it nears the islands, it will produce large and damaging surf. I've not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I've seen with this storm. In this case, the watch means that at least tropical storm-force winds are expected within 48 hours.

The latest track from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has just about all the island chain inside the "Cone of Uncertainty".

Hawaii has been issued with an extreme weather warning as Hurricane Lane hovers dangerously close to the islands. Even if the center of Lane doesnt make landfall, the islands could be walloped with rain and wind.

The NWS says a hurricane warning is now in effect for the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, while a hurricane watch is in effect for Maui County as well as Oahu island, where Honolulu is located.

On Tuesday, Lane, a Category 5 hurricane packing 160-mph winds and traveling at 9 miles per hour, began moving into a region where changing atmospheric conditions will allow the cyclone to gain latitude. The water between the west coast of Mexico and Hawaii tends to trend slightly colder, thanks to cold ocean currents that run down the west coast of North America and upwelling of deep ocean waters.

The hurricane is about 500 miles (804km) south east of Honolulu, the capital.

The storm may bring torrential rain, with the potential for "major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides". Notice how they are largely clustered to the south and southeast of the state.

Meteorologist Gavin Shigesato said: "It is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian islands will be directly impacted by Lane".

Sea surface temperatures over the central Pacific.


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