Hurricane Lester bore down on Hawaii on Friday, bringing heavy rains, large ocean swells and high winds as residents still drying out from Tropical Storm Madeline prepared for another dousing.
Lester was churning in the Pacific Ocean some 400 miles (644 km) east of Hilo, Hawaii, at 8 a.m. local time (1800 GMT) on Friday and was expected to weaken and track slightly north of the islands over the weekend.
Hurricane watches were issued for the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu and Kahoolawe, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Lester was carrying maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (169 kph) on Friday morning.
A press deputy for Hawaii Governor David Inge said a state of emergency he declared ahead of Madeline, which drenched the Big Island earlier this week but did not cause any major damage, remained in place ahead of Lester.
Inge spokeswoman Cindy McMillan said the storm had taken a turn to the north, away from the islands. Still, authorities were keeping a close eye on it.
"We’re asking residents to continue to monitor the storm, be prepared and remain vigilant, especially along shorelines where we could see high surf," McMillan said.
"Residents and guests should check official information sources for the weekend weather forecast before heading out to enjoy events over the holiday weekend," she said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had established a staging area in Kona, to position supplies closer to impacted areas.
Those supplies included 45,000 liters of water, two generators and over 37,000 meals, as well as other materials, FEMA said.
Lester became a hurricane last week as it moved west in the Pacific Ocean away from the mainland of Mexico.
On the U.S. East Coast, Hurricane Hermine wreaked havoc in Florida on Friday, knocking out power to more than 250,000 customers, flooding low-lying areas and raising worries about the spread of the Zika virus.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)