Torrential rains struck Hawaii as Hurricane Lane moved towards the island chain, triggering land slides and flash flooding.
At 6am GMT (10am UAE), the US National Weather Service said the hurricane was packing winds of almost 200kph, despite being downgraded to category three.
Currently located some 230 miles south of the capital Honolulu, Hurricane Lane was expected to hit very close to the islands on Thursday night or Friday morning.
"Hurricane Lane is still a dangerous and powerful storm," Governor David Ige said on Thursday.
Read more: Hawaii residents hunker down as Hurricane Lane approaches
Up to 30cm of rain had already fallen, federal authorities said, with 90cm expected in the worst-hit areas over the coming four to five days.
Over two feet of rain have already fallen at a couple of locations on the windward side of the Big Island, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Emergency teams have set up 16 evacuation centres, with a further 19 due to open later as US President Donald Trump, who has declared a state of emergency, urged Hawaiians to hunker down and prepare for the worst.
"Our teams are closely coordinating with the state and local authorities. You are in our thoughts!" Mr Trump tweeted.