Lane, a Category 4 storm moving northwest at 7 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, will have its center "move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands" Thursday through Friday, the National Weather Service said Wednesday night local time.
Hurricane Lane unleashed torrents of rain and landslides that blocked roads on Hawaii's mostly rural Big Island on Thursday as residents and tourists in the state's biggest city braced for the unsafe storm to come their way.
President Donald Trump earlier declared a state of emergency for Hawaii.
"Hurricanes are inherently unpredictable, so a movement in either direction could affect the force of the winds", said Richard Rapoza, spokesman for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. The storm's wind speeds were last clocked at approximately 120 miles per hour.
While Hurricane Lane's exact path is still uncertain, Ballard said continuous rain and the potential for strong winds could still be damaging even if the storm's eye doesn't make landfall.
Governor David Ige has urged residents to take the threat seriously and prepare for the worst by setting aside a 14-day supply of water, food and medicines.
Hurricane Lane's outer bands have already caused major flooding and mudslides on the Big Island, which saw an estimated 20 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.
The storm's risky center could make landfall as it moves past the islands from Thursday through Saturday.
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Unlike Florida or Texas, where residents can get in their cars and drive hundreds of miles to safety, people in Hawaii are confined to the islands and can't outrun the powerful winds and driving rain.
The National Weather Service said "extreme flooding" was happening on Hawaii's Big Island - more than 2 feet of rain had fallen in some areas and large parts of the island were under a flash flood warning Thursday night. Kauai County, including the island of Niihau, is under a hurricane watch.
After soaking the Big Island its is expected to head towards Maui and Oahu. As of Wednesday, the Big Island as well as Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe are under a hurricane warning. Some areas could see up to 30 inches of rain.
The US Coast Guard said 57,000 US military personnel already stationed in Hawaii stood ready to launch search and rescue missions, and provide logistics and medical support.
Hurricanes rarely hit the Central Pacific region, due to currents and water conditions.
Frank Dias, owner of Scubatech Marine Service prepare a clients 1975 Skipjack Yacht, "Sweet Leilani", out of Kaneohe, Hawaii for the possible impact of Hurricane Lane by doubling the tie downs at the Waikiki Yacht Club at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor in Waikiki on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Honolulu, Hi.
According to NWS, only four named storms have made landfall in Hawaii since 1959 - and only two of those storms were hurricanes. The agency has downgraded the storm to a Category 3.
Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico previous year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has made changes to how it works, Fema Administrator Brock Long said on Thursday.