Hawaii: Hurricane Lane downgraded to tropical storm

Last updated at 07:49
A car is stuck partially submerged in floodwaters from Hurricane Lane rainfall on the Big Island on August 23, 2018 in Hilo, Hawaii.Getty Images
This car got stuck as floodwaters rose following torrential rainfall

Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it heads towards the US state of Hawaii, but is still causing flash flooding and landslides.

Schools and offices were closed as people took shelter from the storm, which hit the islands with strong winds and torrential rain.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center said early on Friday afternoon Hurricane Lane was "weakening quickly", with winds now down to 70mph.

Hawaii looks to have missed its first direct hit by a major storm in 25 years.

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President Donald Trump earlier declared a state of emergency for the state.

The White House said authorities were on standby to provide support and supplies to local and state emergency response efforts.

How are local residents dealing with the storm?
This is what the approaching hurricane looks like from spaceNASA
This is what the approaching hurricane looks like from space

As the storm neared the islands, it brought winds of 125mph and heavy rainfall.

On Hawaii's Big Island more than 30cm of rain fell on Thursday.

Meanwhile United Airlines said it had cancelled all Friday flights to and from the main airports on Maui, the second-largest island.

Roads were closed due to the landslides and images of cars attempting to tackle the deep waters were posted on social media.

Shelves in this supermarket are practically emptyGetty Images
People on the islands have been stocking up on food in preparation for the storm

Residents in other areas of the Big Island were caught out by the flash floods with several vehicles becoming trapped.

Hawaii Governor David Ige urged residents to stock up on supplies of water, food and medicines as a precaution and to avoid driving if possible.

Dozens of evacuation centres were also set up throughout the day as Mr Trump urged Hawaiians to keep inside and prepare for the worst.

The Outrigger Reef resort takes precautions in preparation for the approaching Hurricane Lane by placing sandbags at beachside entrances to the hotel on Thursday, August 23, 2018. - Hurricane Lane was downgraded to a Category 3 Thursday August 23, but the storm's slow motion threatened Hawaii with days of rain.Getty Images

Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean 2,100 miles away from the mainland United States.

It is the only state not located on the continent of North America and the only state made up entirely of islands.

In the state's history, only two hurricanes have ever come within 350 miles of the islands, according to the NWS.

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