Powerful Hurricane Lane bears down on Hawaii

Hurricane Lane a dangerous Category 4 storm headed toward Hawaii	 	 	 			Hurricane Lane a dangerous Category 4 storm headed toward Hawaii

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, according to the National Weather Service's (NWS) Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

The weather service has issued a hurricane warning for Hawaii's Big Island; a hurricane watch has also been issued for Maui and other smaller islands, meaning tropical storm-force winds, excessive rain and large swells could occur.

CBS News weather producer David Parkinson said Lane is already much closer than Hurricane Hector, which reached Category 4 as it brushed south of Hawaii earlier this month. According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, the center of Lane will move very close, if not over, parts of the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday. The current forecast track has the storm making a turn to the northwest sometime Wednesday into Thursday, with the center expected to pass close to the islands of Hawaii and Maui starting on Thursday.

As Hurricane Lane takes a sharp turn north toward the islands Wednesday - and moves into cooler Pacific water - it is expected to weaken significantly, going from Category 5 now to possibly Category 1 by Friday.

The storm could potentially bring "damaging winds and life-threatening flash flooding from heavy rainfall" to the islands, the Hurricane Center warned.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Hawaiʻi County; and a Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Maui County, and Oʻahu was also added to the Hurricane Watch list.

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The storm is now moving westward at 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) and should continue to move west through tonight. The spaghetti models, which meteorologists use to visualize potential storm paths, further underscore the uncertainty. All after-school activities statewide are canceled for the rest of the week.

The long and short of it: It's still too soon to know the impacts, if any, the storm will have on any of the islands.

"A lot of people are comparing the similarities between Iniki and Lane", he said.

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. Honolulu, the state's largest city and capital, is on the island of O'ahu.

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

He reminded people to have emergency kits ready and to "withdraw cash". "We have the two weeks supply of everything on hand - food, water, medication, clinical labs for blood needs, and we can take care of any of the emergencies that would arise". "Once the storm has passed and it is safe for our crews to begin restoration, we will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power".

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