The hurricane was about 465 miles (804 kilometers) southeast of Honolulu before dawn Wednesday and The National Weather Service extended a hurricane warning for Hawaii's Big Island to include the island of Maui.
"Rainbands from Hurricane Lane are moving ashore on the Puna and Kau districts", the National Weather Service said. Roofs and walls will collapse.
A hurricane watch is in effect for several of the islands, including Maui and Lanai, as impacts from the storm are expected to reach the islands starting on Wednesday.
Preparations there are now being rushed to completion as tropical-storm force winds are forecast to arrive in the warning area by late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Oahu and Maui County, meanwhile, are under a hurricane watch.
Hurricane Watches are in effect for the eastern half of the island chain, meaning hurricane-force winds are possible near the area within 48 hours.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige is allowing non-essential state employees on the Big Island and Maui to go on administrative leave.
NHC said potential flash flooding, landslides and mudslides are likely. Coastal evacuations are possible, the weather service said.
Earlier this month, Hurricane Hector, a category four storm, also passed by the islands, though it did not come as close as Lane.
The Hawaiian islands are battening down the hatches as they prepare for Hurricane Lane, a powerful, Category 4 storm barreling toward the state at 155 miles per hour.
A slow weakening of Lane is expected over the next two days but the system is expected to remain a risky hurricane as it draws nearer to the islands, the weather service said.
Military officials in Hawaii have given the order for ships and submarines based in Pearl Harbor to sortie ahead of a Category 4 storm headed toward the islands.
Regardless of Lane's exact track, the storm is likely to push "large and potentially damaging surf along exposed west, south and east facing shorelines", according to the hurricane center.
Even with hurricanes periodically skirting past the Hawaiian islands, the Pacific has been big enough and Hawaii small and lucky enough that few of those storms have actually landed.
South Point Road from the Kamaoa Road junction to South Point is closed to all through traffic and open to local residents only.