but residents woke to blue skies but little damage after Madeline skirted the island. Hurricane Lester remains on track to impact the islands this weekend

Maui County prepares for Hurricane Lester

A man stands in front of the boarded up Pahoa Family Health Center in Pahoa, Hawaii after Tropical Storm Madeline moved through the area, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. The health center reopened a short time later. The tropical storm left parts of Hawaii’s Big Island soggy but intact as residents of the island state prepare for a second round of potentially volatile tropical weather. Hawaii Island was pummeled with heavy rains and strong waves overnight, but residents woke to blue skies but little damage after Madeline skirted the island. Hurricane Lester remains on track to impact the islands this weekend, but possibly after being downgraded to a tropical storm. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

This satellite image taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 and released by NASA shows Hurricane Madeline, left, and Hurricane Lester over the Pacific Ocean in a composite built from two overpasses by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the Suomi NPP satellite. The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning as the storm dubbed Madeline churned west Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, toward the island, urging residents to rush through preparations to protect themselves and their property and expect hurricane conditions within the next 36 hours. (NASA via AP)

A man stands in front of the boarded up Pahoa Family Health Center in Pahoa, Hawaii after Tropical Storm Madeline moved through the area, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. The health center reopened a short time later. The tropical storm left parts of Hawaii’s Big Island soggy but intact as residents of the island state prepare for a second round of potentially volatile tropical weather. Hawaii Island was pummeled with heavy rains and strong waves overnight, but residents woke to blue skies but little damage after Madeline skirted the island. Hurricane Lester remains on track to impact the islands this weekend, but possibly after being downgraded to a tropical storm. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

This satellite image taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 and released by NASA shows Hurricane Madeline, left, and Hurricane Lester over the Pacific Ocean in a composite built from two overpasses by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the Suomi NPP satellite. The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning as the storm dubbed Madeline churned west Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, toward the island, urging residents to rush through preparations to protect themselves and their property and expect hurricane conditions within the next 36 hours.

Maui County officials are bracing for possible impacts from Hurricane Lester, which has strengthened to a major Category 3 storm.

Maui County Emergency Management Officer Anna Foust said Thursday the island is small enough and the storm big enough that the whole island could be impacted.

Foust says she’s concerned residents may not take Hurricane Lester seriously after Madeline passed without incident.

Some business managers in the north shore town of Paia say they haven’t done anything to prepare.

Schools, courts and government offices are closing at noon Friday to give people time to prepare for the storm.

Maui County workers are deploying generators, topping out fuel and planning to open emergency shelters.

Hurricane Lester has strengthened to a major Category 3 storm as it reels toward Hawaii.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour and was 640 miles East of Hilo Thursday afternoon.

Meteorologist Eric Lau says the storm is expected to gradually weaken over the next two days. But he says it’s likely to remain a hurricane as it passes the islands over the weekend.

Hawaii County and Maui County, which includes Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe, are under a hurricane watch.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park opened some areas Thursday as Hurricane Madeline passed. Coast Guard is opening ports in Hawaii County, and cargo operations are resuming.

Ports are opening Thursday so ships can deliver goods and services to the Big Island before the possible arrival of Hurricane Lester.

The Coast Guard urges boaters to exercise extreme caution while Lester approaches the islands over the weekend. They are saying mariners should secure their boats and equipment or move large boats to protected marinas.