US officials prepare for flooding as hurricane hits Hawaii

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US officials say a hurricane hitting Hawaii is likely to bring severe flooding and mudslides, and they are preparing for the worst.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) officials said that three residential search-and-rescue teams are in the state, plus food for up to six days and at least 80 generators – with more available after the storm clears.

The agency also has plans to move supplies to the islands hit hardest after the storm. It says about 2,000 people are in shelters, mostly in Oahu.

Fema is tracking a brush fire in Maui that forced people to evacuate a storm shelter and said dozens of Coast Guard ships and helicopters on the island are ready to assist.

It is not clear what caused the fire, which ignited as rain and wind lashed the island.

Hurricane Lane has knocked out electricity to thousands of people across the Hawaiian islands.

Hurricane Lane
Shoppers faced empty shelves in Honolulu (John Locher/AP)

About 2,600 customers lack power on Molokai, a small island with about 7,000 residents. Mr Rosegg said they may be without power for a long time.

Power outages affected about 4,000 people on the Big Island, which has seen nearly 3ft of rain over two days.

More than 3,000 lost power overnight on Oahu as strong winds downed tree branches, but most of them had service quickly restored.

Mr Rosegg said crews are trying to restore power to as many as possible before the worst of the storm hits the state’s most populated island. He said workers would be out until it is no longer safe.

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