Chula Vista firefighters head to Hawaii for hurricane relief

Major Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 storm, is heading toward Hawaii, forecasters warn

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is allowing non-essential state employees on the Big Island and Maui to go on administrative leave from Wednesday to Friday as Hurricane Lane approaches.

A hurricane warning was issued for Maui County, which includes Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe islands. In this case, the watch means that at least tropical storm-force winds are expected within 48 hours.

As of 5am local time (4pm BST) on Tuesday, Hurricane Lane had reached 315 miles (505km) south of Kailua-Kona - it is now located between 18 and 36 hours away. "As Lane is expected to be slow-moving as it nears the islands, it will produce large and damaging surf, mainly along exposed south and west facing shores", it added.

- Excessive rainfall is possible which could lead to major flash flooding, landslides and mudslides.

According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Lane is expected to turn north-northwest, bringing it "dangerously close" to the island chain.

The weather service said tropical-storm-force winds could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon or evening on the Big Island.

A Category 5 hurricane is headed for Hawaii with wind speeds up to 160 miles per hour.

- Extensive wind damage to property with possible power outages.

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State and County Emergency Management Agency officials are urging residents to stay up-to-date and prepare for Hurricane Lane. Hurricane watches were in effect for other islands as of press time.

Unfortunately NOAA's "hurricane hunter" aircraft that flies through the center of the storm had to be grounded Tuesday morning, as it needed to be examined after "encountering strong turbulence last night" when flying through Lane, according to NOAA.

Hurricane Lane is a Category 5 storm on Wednesday morning.

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.

South Point Road from the Kamaoa Road junction to South Point is closed to all through traffic and open to local residents only. It may take until the weekend for Lane to succumb to wind shear and weaken to a tropical storm.

In addition to strong winds, the primary threats will be rough surf, coastal erosion, and heavy rainfall, even if the center of the storm does not move directly over the islands.

Kauai resident Mike Miranda was 12 when Hurricane Iniki devastated the island 26 years ago.

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