Hurricane Iselle was around 405 miles east of Hilo on the Big Island late on Wednesday (local time), and heading west-north west at 18mph, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
The storm has sustained winds estimated at 90mph, which puts it as a strong category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Latest predictions take the centre of Iselle very near or over Hawaii’s Big Island on Thursday evening, before passing just south of the smaller islands on Friday.
State officials warned for the potential of flash floods, mudslide and power outages, with Governor Neil Abercrombie signing an emergency proclamation, freeing up funds and other resources, in anticipation of its arrival.
Residents were busy stocking up on basics as authorities in Honolulu advised to prepare seven-day disaster supply kits.
Supermarkets were filled with lines of people waiting at tills, with shopping trollies full of bottled water, batteries and non-perishable food.
One of the greatest impacts from Hurricane Iselle is expected to be heavy rain and flooding, giving the potential to cause life-threatening mudslides.
Around five to eight inches of rain is forecast, with some places seeing as much as 12 inches. In addition, a storm surge of 1-3ft is possible at the coast if the biggest waves coincide with high tide.
Worryingly, another hurricane is hot on the heels of Iselle, with Julio a mere three days away. However, the latest forecast weakens Hurricane Julio to a tropical storm, before taking it north of the Hawaiian islands this weekend.
Nevertheless, it will still be close enough to give more wet and windy weather that will hamper rescue efforts if Iselle causes a large amount of damage.