A camera mounted to the outside of the International Space Station captured massive Hurricane Lane as it churns toward the Hawaiian Islands.
The Category 4 storm is expected to affect the Big Island as soon as Wednesday night. The governor of Hawaii has declared an emergency, and all public and charter schools on the Big Island and Maui County are closed until further notice.
Space Station cameras showed views of the 280-mile-wide hurricane churning in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday south of the Hawaiian Islands at 12:47 p.m. packing winds of 155 mph moving west-northwest, according to a NASA tweet.
Astronaut Ricky Arnold tweeted photos of the eye of the storm from 254 miles above Earth Wednesday morning.
"The crew of the Space Station sends much aloha to everyone there," he said in the tweet.
The storm was in the Pacific about 315 miles south of the Big Island town of Kailua-Kona early Wednesday.
Until earlier in the day, Hurricane Lane was a Category 5. The hurricane is the closest a Category 5 storm has ever come to the island chain. Only three other hurricanes since 1950 have hit the Hawaiian Islands, though several have come close.
Several satellites included in NASA’s Earth Observatory have been tracking the hurricane's approach to Hawaii.