A Victoria family said they are waiting to see whether or not they will be able to fly out of Maui as Hurricane Lane bears down on the Hawaiian islands.
The hurricane is classified as a Category 3 storm, the third-strongest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of wind intensity, according to the US Central Pacific Hurricane Center. The outer bands of the hurricane have caused landslides and flooding on the Big Island, forcing the closure of some roads.
The U.S. National Weather Service said the storm has shifted and is moving closer to Hawaii. The shift will put the Big Island and Maui in the thick of the storm Thursday through Friday. Some areas could see more than 700 millimetres of rain, along with storm surge and dangerous surf.
Hawaii Governor David Inge has urged residents to set aside two weeks’ worth of food and water as the state deals with its first hurricane since 1992.
Cody Mah, who is from Victoria, said he is waiting to see if he, his wife, his 10-month-old daughter and his parents can get a flight out of Maui this evening. The family is currently on vacation in the Kihei-Wailea area on Maui and is supposed to leave tonight at 10 p.m. (HST).
“We’re not sure if we are going to be able to get out,” Mah said.
As of late Thursday morning (local time), Mah said it was lightly raining.
“The surf is fine, the wind is almost non-existent,” Mah said.
“I think the east side of the island is being hit quite a bit harder right now and then the Big Island below us, the volcano island, is getting hit pretty hard with flash flooding.”
He added that while the beach parking and beaches are technically closed, there are people in the Kihei area still swimming in the ocean. Mah and others have been constantly checking their phones and watching the local weather channel.
“As of right now, we’re not too worried,” Mah said.
“It’s supposed to hit us later this afternoon but so far, so good.”
He has heard Maui may see 20 inches (51 centimetres) of rain and winds speeds are supposed to increase. Residents and tourists have been warned there may be flash flooding and officials have provided a preparedness guide.
“Basically get two weeks worth of water, two weeks worth of food, [a] lot of non-perishables, candles, lighter, flashlights. They were telling us to fill up our bathtubs with water throughout the night just in case the water gets shut off,” Mah said.
Mah said they are very lucky as the owner of the condo they are staying at is allowing the family to remain where they are until they hear whether their scheduled flight is able to land on Maui.
“Yesterday we went out to the grocery store and picked up tons of water and lots of food. Gas stations and grocery stores were really busy yesterday but the sidewalks and roads were really dead. Not a lot of people walking,” Mah said.
While it’s a little nerve-wracking not knowing how the hurricane will affect him and his family, Mah said they are remaining optimistic about their chances to catch a flight.
WATCH LIVE: Tracking Hurricane Lane | NBC News