HONOLULU — Hurricane Lane has weakened as it approaches Hawaii but was still expected to pack a wallop, forecasters said Wednesday, as people hurried to buy water and other supplies and the Navy moved its ships to safety.

The National Weather Service said tropical-storm-force winds could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon on the Big Island.

“We’re planning on boarding up all our windows and sliding doors,” Napua Puaoi of Wailuku, Maui, said after buying 16 pieces of plywood from Home Depot. “As soon as my husband comes home – he has all the power tools.”

The hurricane was about 305 miles south of Kailua-Kona and moving northwest.

Meteorologist Chevy Chevalier in Honolulu said its winds had slowed overnight from 160 mph to 155 mph, prompting a downgrade from a Category 5 to a Category 4 hurricane.

He said it may drop to a Category 3 by Thursday afternoon but that would still be a major hurricane.

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