International Space Station satellite releases stunning images of Hurricane Lane

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There are fears the extreme weather will trigger deadly flooding and landslides as the storm bears down on the islands.

When it reaches those islands, projected to be Friday afternoon, the hurricane is expected to have weakened to Category 1 or 2, with sustained winds of 74 to 110 miles per hour.

In the state's history, only two storms of this strength have ever come within 350 miles (563 km) of the islands, according to the NWS.

A camera attached to the International Space Station satellite has given viewers an idea of the size of the hurricane set to hit Hawaii as early as Thursday.

Up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain had already fallen before dawn, according to federal authorities, with 30 inches expected in the worst-hit areas over the coming four to five days.

It's not yet clear from forecast maps whether Lane will actually make landfall, meaning that its eye wall crosses over land, in Hawaii.

Lane has already poured more than a foot of rain on portions of Hawaii island during the past 24 hours.

Lane's center was expected to sweep very close or over Hawaii's main islands later Thursday or Friday, the NOAA said. Tropical storm force winds have already been reported on parts of the Big Island, measuring between 39 and 73 miles per hour, CNN reported. Still, the amount of damage Hurricane Lane will bring remains uncertain and it is always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Hurricane Lane, which is bearing down on Hawaii, is the most powerful storm to hit the islands in a quarter-century. "The situation is extremely fluid and we continue to monitor Hurricane Lane's path closely". It killed six people and damaged or destroyed more than 14,000 homes.

Hurricane-related deaths in Puerto Rico have been estimated at as many as 4,600 people, largely because prolonged and widespread power outages and washed out roads prevented access to health care, according to USA researchers.

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The state has published a guide on storm preparedness for Hawaiians.

"Someone once told me it wasn´t raining when Noah built the Ark", American Red Cross vice-president Brad Kieserman told a news conference in Washington.

"Rain has been non-stop for the last half-hour or so and winds are just starting to pick up", he said as he posted videos online of trees being blown sideways.

State officials opened shelters on Wednesday with more opening on Thursday, The Associated Press reported. Evacuees arrived via school buses and city buses with destination displays that read "EVACUATION".

The U.S. Navy was moving its ships and submarines out of Hawaii. "We're going to have probably more people than we expect usually".

US President Donald Trump yesterday declared a state of emergency in Hawaii, releasing disaster funds as powerful Hurricane Lane bears down on the archipelago's Big Island. "But you build capacity and resiliency in your response, and every incident helps you out for the next one". "Big Island and Maui are in the thick of it now".

"There's nothing in there", said one shopper leaving the store.

"It's just this feeling I get, that there's the potential for it to be really big", she said.

An Alberta family is among those in Hawaii who are stockpiling food and gasoline and bracing themselves as a Category 4 hurricane threatens the Central Pacific island chain.

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