A weakened but still dangerous Hurricane Fabio and its 125-m.p.h. wind gusts moved closer to the Hawaiian Islands on Thursday, and officials advised residents of one island to begin preparing for the storm.
Fabio's center was 480 miles east-southeast of Hilo Thursday evening, with a course and speed that would bring the hurricane just south of Hawaii, the southernmost island in the chain, sometime today.
If the storm continues on its present track, it would be near Oahu, the most populous island, on Saturday, forecasters said.
Hurricane Iwa was the last major storm to hit Hawaii. It skirted Oahu and overran Kauai and Niihau in November, 1982, with 117-m.p.h. winds, causing $234 million in damage.
National Weather Service forecaster Clarence Lee said Fabio had weakened since early Wednesday, when winds were gusting to 175 m.p.h. But, he said, such storms usually diminish as they move away from the Equator and over cooler waters.
"There is a possibility it may weaken further and not be a hurricane in the next 24 hours," Lee said. "But it's still a dangerous storm for island residents and they need to be very concerned about it."