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But the center of the storm, carrying maximum winds of around 160 miles per hour (257 km/h), is expected to move "dangerously close" to the main Hawaiian Islands Thursday through Saturday (Aug. 23 to Aug. 25), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Lane's center is predicted to pass close to the island of Hawaii, also known as the "Big Island", and Maui, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Lane intensified to a Category 5 on Tuesday night, threatening to become the first landfalling hurricane in Hawaii in almost three decades.

The extremely powerful Hurricane Lane is closing in on Hawaii, where heavy rain, strong winds and unsafe surf are expected Thursday into the weekend. Preparations there should be rushed to completion as tropical-storm force winds are forecast to arrive in the warning area by late Wednesday or early Thursday. Hurricane watches cover Oahu and Kauai, where conditions are expected to deteriorate Thursday night into Friday morning.

According to the latest forecast track, Lane is slated to remain a risky hurricane when its center moves very close or over parts of the state Thursday through Saturday.

Landfalling hurricanes are very rare in Hawaii, as the Central Pacific does not normally see as many storms as the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands present a very small target in the vast Pacific Ocean. Damaging winds from the storm could hit the Big Island as early as this afternoon.

But forecast models are indicating that Lane will turn in a more northerly direction by Wednesday, which will bring the center of Lane very close to Hawaii and Maui counties on Thursday, the Hurricane Center said.

It is not certain what Hurricane Lane's path will be - whether it moves north or south.

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Only four named storms - two hurricanes and two tropical storms - have made landfall in Hawaii since 1959.

Hawaii Public Radio has a rundown of emergency phone numbers and guides for Hawaii residents preparing for the storm.

But if the storm stays far enough south, many, if not all, of the islands would witness more of a glancing blow, with lesser effects.

However, weather officials say Lane will weaken over the next 48 hours as it nears the state.

He reminded people to have emergency kits ready and to "withdraw cash".

Ige said that statewide, counties have already started positioning food, water and other supplies to be ready to respond if there is an emergency and shelters must be opened.

American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines issued travel advisories to customers flying to or from Hawaii. "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".