Hawaii is bracing for Hurricane Lane, a Category 5 hurricane that is on course to skirt the Aloha State later this week.

The storm, which is currently barrelling west across the Pacific, has sustained wind speeds of 160 mph and is expected to “make a close approach, if not direct landfall, on the Hawaiian islands”, according to JLT Re.

While the storm is expected to weaken to a later today, the broker’s meteorologists said Lane was likely to make its closest approach to the Big Island as a Category 3 on Thursday.

“Category 2 impacts to Maui, and category 1 impacts to islands further north, including Oahu and Kauai will occur slightly later,” JLT Re said.

“While current forecasts anticipate the core of highest winds will stay offshore, any shift to the right in the track will elevate the probability of damaging winds.”

The broker said that models put the core of highest hurricane force winds just offshore.  However, it notes that any shift east in the ultimate track will quickly escalate damage potential from wind.

“The largest impacts from Lane will be exceptional rainfall for the entire state of Hawaii,” JLT Re said.

In notes that the deluge was expected to lead to landslides and flash flooding as the hurricane threatens to dump as much as 30 inches of rain on the islands.

“Storm surge is also a meaningful concern, particularly on the south and west facing coastlines of each island,” JLT Re said.

“Due to Lane’s expected weakening as the hurricane tracks north and eventually west, the highest storm surge heights of 3-6 feet are anticipated in the southern islands while 1-3 feet will be seen further north.”

However it warned that isolated bays and rivers could see higher surge totals due to funneling of water through the coastline’s features.

Lane is a rare hurricane, one of only six Category 5 storms on record to disturb the central Pacific. JLT Re said above-average sea surface temperatures had caused the unusual storm.