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His stark warning to Hawaiians was that the archipelago of eight large islands "is in danger of being significantly impacted by Hurricane Lane, whether or not the hurricane directly hits the state".

On Tuesday morning, Lane was positioned 450 miles south-southeast of Kona, tracking west at 12 mph.

While Lane's strength is expected to weaken slightly upon its approach to the Hawaiian islands, it was still expected to remain a risky hurricane. Storm rainfall amounts of 10 to 15 inches with local amounts greater than 20 inches are possible.

Lane is one of the strongest storms to ever move over the Hawaiian Islands.The Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasts continue to show that all islands are at risk from direct effects from the core of Hurricane Lane.

Hawaii is already coping with the three-month eruption of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island, which was expected to start feeling the force of Lane's driving rains by late Wednesday afternoon, the Hawaii-based centre said.

With maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour, Lane was upgraded to the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale as it surged westerly across the Pacific Ocean toward the Big Island.

What's it like to be in the middle of Hurricane Lane?

At the time of writing, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has classified Lane as a potent Category 5 hurricane. The storm's path is still far from certain, with the National Hurricane Center's cone of uncertainty still showing a wide swath from Thursday onward. A hurricane watch was issued for Kauai and previously, Oahu, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in an August 22 update at around 11 a.m. ET.

The last hurricane to make landfall in the island state was Iniki, a Category 4 that barreled into the island of Kauai on September 11, 1992, and resulted in more than $3 billion in damages.

The Hurricane Center urged residents of Hawaii to prepare for the storm. All offices and off-campus locations will remain closed, and classes and events cancelled, including sporting events. It may take until the weekend for Lane to succumb to wind shear and weaken to a tropical storm. As Lane will be slow-moving as it nears the islands, prolonged heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding will be possible.

The latest forecast model indicates Lane will remain a very strong, and unsafe storm.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Oahu and Kauai County, including the islands of Kauai and Niihau.