The centre of Tropical Storm Iselle has made landfall on
Hawaii's Big Island, bringing strong winds and heavy rain,
knocking down trees and causing power outages ahead of a more
powerful storm gathering strength behind it.
While Iselle weakened into a tropical storm before reaching
the islands, it was being closely followed by Julio, a
Category 3 hurricane set to reach the area as early as Sunday
morning (local time) - although the latest forecasts showed
it tracking just north of the archipelago.
As Iselle bore down, more than 1,200 people flocked to
evacuation shelters across the Big Island, according to
County of Hawaii Civil Defense, as heavy rains and strong
winds pummeled eastern areas of the island from Puna to Hilo.
Hawaii Electric Light Company had about 5,000 customers
without power, a Hawaii County official said. Flash flood
warnings were issued for the entire island.
Iselle was expected to bring waves of up to 8 metres on
southeast-facing shores on the Big Island, along with heavy
rain and sustained winds near 110kmh, before passing south of
the state's smaller islands later in the day.
About 870 miles to the east, Hurricane Julio had gained
momentum, barreling west-northwest at 16 miles per hour (26
kph), with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (169
Prediction models showed Julio weakening before it reaches
the Hawaiian Islands early on Sunday morning and tracking
about 150 miles (240 km) north of the archipelago.
"Julio will be passing over cooler waters compared to Iselle
and is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm before nearing
Hawaii waters," Dan Kottlowski of Accuweather said. "Rainfall
could still be locally heavy, especially in the higher
terrain as a result of the tropical flow of moisture."
'RIDE IT OUT'
In anticipation of the rare back-to-back storms, Hawaii
residents scrambled to stock up on supplies as state
officials warned of the potential for flash floods, mudslides
and power outages in the normally calm tourist haven.
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation
freeing up funds and resources and authorities advised
residents to prepare seven-day disaster supply kits and
cautioned them against driving except in an emergency.
Hawaii's schools were closed on Friday but authorities
planned to keep airports open so planes could land in an
emergency, although some airlines had canceled flights,
Power was out at the Olinda Water Treatment plant in a rural
area of Maui, and officials told some 700 water customers to
conserve water, County of Maui spokesman Rod Antone said.
Emergency officials also told residents in the area of the
Puna Geothermal Venture plant in Pohoiki to stay indoors or
evacuate to safe zones after a spill of poisonous hydrogen
sulfide. It was not immediately clear how serious the spill
At the Sunshine True Value Hardware store in Kapaau on
Thursday, shelves were picked clean of batteries,
flashlights, duct tape and plywood. Sales clerk Caryl
Lindamood tried to stay cheerful.
"Mother Nature sure does like to stir things up for us,
doesn't she?" she said, joking about both the storms and a
small 4.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the Big Island 12
miles (19 km) west of Waimea on Thursday morning.
Robert Trickey, 56, an interior decorator, said he was
worried about plate-glass windows that act as walls at his
house near Pahoa on the Big Island.
Kailua-Kona resident Lisa Hummel, 44, said her family was
filling water containers and stocking up on batteries,
candles and flashlights, and planned to shelter in their
basement when the hurricane arrives.
"We'll probably make a pot of chili and ride it out," she