US President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Hawaii, releasing disaster funds as powerful Hurricane Lane bears down on the archipelago's Big Island.
Hurricane Lane soaked Hawaii's Big Island on Thursday, dumping 30 centimetres of rain in as many hours as residents stocked up on supplies and tried to protect their homes ahead of the state's first hurricane since 1992.
The National Weather Service warned that some areas could see up to 76 centimetres before the system passes. Bands of rain extended 566 kilometres from the hurricane's centre.
Lane was not projected to make direct hit on the islands, but officials warned that even a lesser blow could do significant harm.
"You do not need a direct strike to have major impacts from a hurricane this strong," said Steve Goldstein, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington.
Journalist Jay Gray has the latest from Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Category 4 storm could bring dangerous surf of 50 centimetres and a storm surge of up to 10 centimetres, forecasters said.
Tropical storm conditions, with winds of 118 kph, were expected to reach the Big Island, Hawaii's easternmost major island, later Thursday morning, with hurricane conditions possible later in the day.
As of 2 am, the hurricane was 540 kilometres south of Honolulu and moving northwest.
Maximum winds had weakened slightly to 130 mph, the National Weather Service said.
The storm was expected to turn to the north later Thursday and into Friday, with little change expected in forward speed. The centre of the system could move close to or over portions of the main islands on Thursday or Friday. The storm will then likely turn to the west Saturday and Sunday and accelerate, forecasters said.
TRT World's Mmalegabe Motsepe reports.
"Everyone is starting to buckle down at this point," said Christyl Nagao of Kauai.
"Our families are here. We have businesses and this and that. You just have to man your fort and hold on tight."
Shelters opened Wednesday on the Big Island and on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Officials urged those needing the Molokai shelter to get there soon because of concerns that the main highway on the island's south coast could become impassable.
On the island of Oahu, shelters were scheduled to open on Thursday.
Officials were also working to help Hawaii's sizeable homeless population, many of whom live near beaches and streams that could flood.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Tom Travis said there's not enough shelter space statewide and advised people who were not in flood zones to stay home.
Authorities also warned that the shelters are not designed to withstand winds greater than about 64 kph and that for most people they should be a "last resort."
Public schools were closed for the rest of the week, and local government workers were told to stay home unless they are essential employees.