(Adds comment from resident of Big Island and plan to close
schools on Friday)
By Malia Mattoch McManus
HONOLULU Aug 7 Hawaii braced for a one-two
punch from a pair of major storms barreling toward the
archipelago on Thursday, with Hurricane Iselle leading the way
with high winds and heavy surf as Hurricane Julio gathered steam
behind it, U.S. officials said.
Iselle, a Category 1 hurricane with maximum winds of 75
miles per hour (120 kph) , was about 175 miles (280 km) east of
the Big Island by noon local time and was forecast to make
landfall on Thursday night before passing south of the state's
smaller islands on Friday.
As residents and tourists alike braced for Iselle to make
landfall, Hurricane Julio was gaining momentum further east, and
was expected to pass near Hawaii's islands by late Saturday or
early Sunday, said Ray Tanabe, acting director of the National
Weather Service in the Pacific region.
The rare threat of back-to-back hurricanes sent Hawaii
residents scrambling 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 other resources, in anticipation of the
storms' arrival, and authorities advised residents to prepare
seven-day disaster supply kits.
"We are already seeing winds over 30 mph (48 kph) on parts
of the Big Island. They are being sped up by terrain," Tanabe
said. "We expect the center of the storm to move onshore between
8 p.m. and 10 p.m. this evening."
"It should be sunrise tomorrow by the time it clears the
entire Big Island," he said.
SUN AND RAIN
In Honolulu, where the sun was still shining on Thursday
morning, resident Don Riseborough said he was taking the weather
"Talk about the calm before the storm. It's a gorgeous day
here, bright sunshine, nice trade winds, a beach day. The
furniture is off the lanai, and I'm about to eat everything in
the refrigerator in case the power goes out ... oh, and I have
plenty of water, wine and beer."
But on the Big Island, a downpour soaked customers who
dashed from their cars to the Sunshine True Value Hardware store
in the community of Kapaau, only to discover shelves already
picked clean of batteries, flashlights, duct tape and plywood.
But sales clerk Caryl Lindamood tried to spread a cheerful
"Mother Nature sure does like to stir things up for us,
doesn't she?" she said, joking about both the incoming storms
and a light 4.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the Big Island
12 miles (19 km) west of Waimea on Thursday morning.
Elsewhere on the Big Island, Kailua-Kona resident Lisa
Hummel, 44, said she and her family were filling every available
container with water and had amassed batteries, candles and
flashflights and plan to take shelter in their basement when the
"We'll probably make a pot of chili and ride it out," she
Markus Schale, general manager of Hotel Wailea on Maui, said
his staff was removing all outdoor furniture from patios and
around the swimming pool.
"We're delivering food and drinks to people's rooms before
the storm, a sort of picnic service in the afternoon so they
can stay in their rooms safely tonight," he said.
(Additional reporting by Ken Wills in Honolulu and Gunna
Dickson in New York; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by
Kevin Liffey and Sandra Maler)