HONOLULU (AP) – The Latest on Hurricane Lane. (all times local):
Hawaii’s Big Island is seeing the first effects of approaching Hurricane Lane’s outer rain bands.
Gov. David Ige noted at a news conference Wednesday that the island is starting to see the effects of the powerful Category 4 hurricane.
The National Weather Service says there are heavy bouts of rain on the east of the island and lighter rain in other areas.
Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe says it’s raining in Hilo, on the east side, but sunny skies on the Kona, or west side, of the island.
It’s mostly sunny in Honolulu.
Pearl Hodgins, a real estate agent on the island of Molokai, says it’s been very humid.
Hawaii’s public schools will be closed for the rest of the week in anticipation of a powerful hurricane.
The state Department of Education says schools are expected to re-open on Monday.
Many schools are used as emergency shelters.
Maui County shelters are expected to open Wednesday while shelters on Oahu are scheduled to open Thursday.
Because of Hurricane Lane’s arrival, state workers are being told to stay home for the rest of the week, unless they are essential employees.
The National Weather Service says Lane is forecast to move dangerously close to the main Hawaiian islands as a hurricane Thursday through Saturday, potentially bringing damaging winds, prolonged heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash-flooding.
The first emergency shelters are preparing to open as Hurricane Lane heads toward Hawaii.
Officials plan to open shelters at some schools on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai at 2 p.m. Wednesday with check-in an hour earlier for people with special needs.
Officials on other islands say they will open shelters when needed.
Maui County remains under a hurricane warning, along with the Big Island.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the islands of Oahu, Kauai and Niihau.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Tom Travis said Tuesday there’s not enough shelter space statewide.
He says those who are not in flood zones should stay home.
Officials are working on shelter logistics for Hawaii’s sizeable homeless population.
Many live near beaches and streams that could face flooding.
The U.S. Navy is moving its ships and submarines out of Hawaii as Hurricane Lane bears down on the state.
Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander of the Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said Wednesday that all ships not currently undergoing maintenance are being moved.
The ships were moved out of Pearl Harbor and will be positioned to help respond after the storm, if needed.
All Hawaii-based Navy aircraft will be kept in hangars or flown to other airfields to avoid the storm.
The National Weather Service said tropical-storm-force winds could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon on the Big Island.
Hurricane Lane has taken a turn toward Hawaii but is weakening as it approaches the islands.
The National Weather Service says the hurricane will still pack a wallop for Hawaii on Thursday before gradually slowing over the next two days.
Early Wednesday, the hurricane was 320 miles (515 kilometers) south of Hilo on Hawaii Island and moving northwest toward other islands.
Meteorologist Chevy Chevalier in Honolulu says winds slowed overnight from 160 mph to 155 mph (259 to 250 kph), prompting a downgrade of the hurricane from a Category 5 to a Category 4.
He says it may diminish to a Category 3 by Thursday afternoon but that would still be a major hurricane.
Chevalier says that by early Friday, the hurricane is forecast to be a Category 2 with winds up to 110 mph (177 kph) and the center located west of Hawaii Island and south of Honolulu.
The National Weather Service says that Hurricane Lane headed toward Hawaii has been is now a Category 4 hurricane and that some weakening of the storm is forecast over the next two days.
The weather service said Wednesday that the hurricane’s maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph (250 kmh) with higher gusts.
The service says the hurricane is still forecast to be a dangerous hurricane as it gets closer to the islands.
The National Weather Service says the hurricane warning in effect for Hawaii’s Big Island has been extended to the island of Maui.
National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Dye says Hurricane Lane was 320 miles (515 kilometers) southeast of Hilo shortly before 5:30 a.m.
She says the hurricane is moving northwest at about 9 mph (15 kph).
Dye says rain associated with the hurricane has started to show up on radar off the Big Island of Hawaii and offshore buoys are detecting higher than normal waves.
The weather service says tropical-storm-force winds could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon or evening on the Big Island.
Hawaii residents rushed to stores to stock up on bottled water, ramen, toilet paper and other supplies as they faced the threat of heavy rain, flash flooding and high surf as a strengthening hurricane continued to churn toward the state.
On Tuesday night, the National Weather Service announced that Hurricane Lane had become a Category 5 hurricane, which means that it is likely to cause catastrophic damage with winds 157 mph or above. The hurricane is about 500 miles (804 kilometers) southeast of Honolulu.
Earlier Tuesday, the weather service issued a hurricane warning for Hawaii island and a hurricane watch for Oahu, Maui and other smaller islands, meaning tropical storm-force winds, excessive rain and large swells could arrive starting Wednesday.
Hurricane Lane “is forecast to move dangerously close to the main Hawaiian islands as a hurricane later this week, potentially bringing damaging winds and life-threatening flash flooding from heavy rainfall,” the weather service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center warned as it got closer to the state.
The storm had been moving west, but it is expected to turn northwest toward the state Wednesday.
Meteorologist Gavin Shigesato says there’s uncertainty to Lane’s path – whether it moves north or south.