A woman loads bottled water into her shopping cart while
buying supplies in Mililani, Hawaii as she prepares for the
arrival of the hurricanes. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry
Hawaiians are braced for two hurricanes that were headed
their way, with Iselle approaching the islands packing high
winds and heavy surf while Julio gathers steam behind it.
Hurricane Iselle was forecast to make landfall on Hawaii's
Big Island on Thursday night (local time) before passing
south of the archipelago's smaller islands on Friday.
Residents were scurrying to gather supplies as officials
warned of flooding and outages.
"Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but
Iselle is expected to be near hurricane strength as it makes
landfall on the Big Island tonight," the Central Pacific
Hurricane Centre said.
Iselle was about 410km east of Hilo at about 8am Hawaiian
Standard Time on Thursday, while Julio was upgraded overnight
to a Category 2 Hurricane and forecast to pass just north of
the Big Island on Sunday morning, according to the National
State officials warned of the potential for flash floods,
mudslides and power outages, and Governor Neil Abercrombie
signed an emergency proclamation, freeing up funds and other
resources, in anticipation of the storms' arrival.
Hawaii residents were stocking up on basics as authorities in
Honolulu advised them to prepare seven-day disaster supply
kits. Shoppers waited in lines at supermarkets with carts
full of bottled water, batteries and nonperishable food.
While Iselle appeared to be weakening with winds of 130kmh
Julio was packing maximum sustained winds of nearly 160kmh
and could continue to strengthen on Thursday, but it was
forecast to gradually weaken by late evening and into the
weekend, the National Hurricane Centre said.
As they prepared, Hawaiians also had to contend with rumbling
from underground on Thursday morning when a magnitude 4.5
earthquake struck the Big Island (19km) west of Waimea,
according to the US Geological Survey.