As of 2 a.m., the hurricane was 335 miles (540 kilometers) south of Honolulu and moving northwest.
"There's lots and lots of rain, torrential rain, with a lot of moisture in the atmosphere", weather service meteorologist Chevy Chevalier said early on Friday. "That means ambulances and even police are not able to get through".
America's Pacific paradise is now under a state of emergency as Hurricane Lane soaks the Big Island. A process called decoupling could be underway which could mean a quicker turn to the west and faster weakening than is now shown by the official forecast.
On Wednesday, the hurricane's speed slowed from 9 miles per hour to 7 miles per hour (15 kph to 11 kph), Shigesato said.
Roads were closed due to the landslides and images of cars attempting to tackle the deep waters were posted on social media. "Our families are here". A hurricane warning is posted for Hawaii's Big Island, Maui and Oahu, including Honolulu, meaning hurricane conditions are expected within those areas. The Hana Highway wraps around the remote, east side of the island.
The National Hurricane Centre warned that storm surges could bring 6 metre waves and raise water levels 1 to 1.5 metres above normal along the western shores of the Big Island. Officials were also working to help Hawaii's sizeable homeless population, many of whom live near beaches and streams that could flood.
State and County Emergency Management Agency officials are urging residents to stay up-to-date and prepare for Hurricane Lane. The 3- to 4-acre fire rapidly spread, and - as a precaution - county officials and Red Cross personnel evacuated as many as 26 people from an emergency shelter at Lahaina Intermediate School to the Lahaina Civic Center. A Category 5 is the strongest hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The Category 3 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (193 kph).
The shelves of a downtown Honolulu Walmart were stripped of items ranging from canned tuna to dog food.
British Columbians vacationing in Hawaii say they were given just a day to choose between riding it out and getting out.
She was organizing important documents into a folder - birth and marriage certificates, Social Security cards, insurance paperwork - and making sure her three children, all under 4, have flotation devices such as swimming vests "just in case".
Government workers have been asked to stay home unless specifically needed.
The other major factor behind Lane's intense rains, he said, is how slow the storm is moving.
The Central Pacific gets few hurricanes and tropical storms: The Atlantic or Eastern Pacific usually see many more named storms. Hawaii rarely gets hit.
FEMA administrator Brock Long said the supplies arrived in Hawaii after a volcano began oozing lava into neighbourhoods in May and in preparation for a recent hurricane that bypassed the islands.