(Photo via: article.wn.com)
By: Chris Taylor
Just days ago, Tropical storm Iselle was forecasted to slowly weaken as it moved west across the Pacific. Unfortunately that did not happen, and now Hawaii is poised to take its first direct hit from a hurricane in over 22 years.
Following behind Iselle is Hurricane Julio, which strengthened early Thursday morning into a Category 2 storm, which means it could produce winds up to 100 miles per hour.
State officials are assuring the islands are ready and that residents should prepare but not panic.
Hurricane Iselle was expected to arrive on the Big Island Thursday evening, bringing heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding in some areas. Weather officials have since changed their forecast on the system, this after seeing it get a little stronger, giving it enough oomph to stay a hurricane as it reaches landfall.
“What ended up happening is the storm has resurged just enough to keep its hurricane strength,” stated Mike Cantin, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service. “It’s not a major hurricane, but definitely enough to blow things around.”
Cantin went on to say that he believes the Big Island’s size and terrain would help break up the hurricane, making it only a tropical storm as it passes Maui and Oahu late Thursday and early Friday.
Hurricane Iselle is expected to bring heavy downpours of 5 to 8 inches over the Big Island; in isolated spots up to 12 inches, according to predictions made by the hurricane center. That could cause rock and mudslides.
Also, the storm surge could come on top of high tide, pushing 1 to 3 feet of water onto dry land, and depending on overlap with tides, could hit isolated areas pretty hard. Hurricane Iselle has already produced waves measuring 40 feet in height.
Meanwhile, The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that it expects Hurricane Julio to slowly begin weakening this evening and forecasted that it will continue to lose strength over the course of the weekend.
The last time Hawaii was hit with a tropical storm or hurricane was in 1992, when Hurricane Iniki killed six people and destroyed more than 1,400 homes in Kauai.
We encourage all residents of Hawaii and any tourists vacationing on the islands to take the necessary precautions for dealing with these tropical storms.
Stay tuned to KalapakiJoes.com for further updates as they become available.