The National Hurricane Center warned that storm surges could raise water levels 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 metres) above normal along the western shores of the Big Island. Extreme rainfall may prompt "numerous evacuations and rescues," it said.
The hurricane strengthened to a major Category 4 storm on Tuesday and was expected to hit Hawaii's Big Island on Thursday with winds capable of damaging roofs and knocking out power, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned.
Over the weekend, the US Geological survey detected more than 250 earthquakes with four explosions on May 26 sending ash at 12,000-15,000 feet into the air. Large fissures have opened in the earth since the eruptions began on May 3.