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Hurricane Lane intensifies into MAJOR category 4 storm

Hurricane Lane intensifies into MAJOR category 4 storm

"It is important to remember, these impacts can extend far from the center". A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or unsafe.

The Category 4 storm was located about 410 miles south-southeast of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and 575 miles south-southeast of Honolulu as of the CPHC's 11 a.m. HST update.

Watches may be extended to the western islands, the Hurricane Center said.

Lane, which is packing winds as high as 150 miles per hour, is churning west in the Pacific, but forecasters expect it to start turning toward the northwest, putting the Hawaiian islands in its probable path.

Tropical-storm-force winds could arrive on Wednesday in the Big Island, and in the smaller islands by Thursday or Friday.

Deep tropical moisture associated with Lane will spread across all islands.

Large waves are already being experienced along the eastern edge of Hawaii, with a "sizable swell already propagating out from this storm, which is now impacting the eastern exposures throughout the Hawaiian Islands, showing strongest along the Hilo Side of the Big Island", according to Jonathan Warren, lead forecaster for Surfline.com.

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Hawaii residents could be slammed with heavy rain, flash flooding and high surf even if the center doesn't reach the islands, according to Birchard. Wave heights of 6 to 12 feet are expected. This may lead to risky rip currents.

Lane is expected to weaken as it makes a turn toward the northwest, passing close to Hawaii on Wednesday and Thursday.

The weather service urges residents and visitors to keep informed about the movements of Lane and to be prepared to evacuate immediately.

More hurricane watches were expected to be issued for other Hawaiian islands, said the Honolulu-based hurricane center.

While most hurricanes moving in from the east will struggle to maintain strength as they pass over the colder pool of water east of the Hawaiian Islands, the path Lane is projected to take - moving up from the south - gives it the best chance to stay organized, as warmer water does stretch closer to the islands on their south side.

Those not under evacuation orders should assess the risk from wind, falling trees and flooding.

Visitors should check with hotel and resort officials about disaster plans, the weather service said.