News / USA

    Tropical Storm Iselle Batters Hawaii

    This image provided by NOAA taken at 2 a.m. EDT Friday Aug. 8, 2014 shows Hurricane Iselle approaching the Island of Hawaii, left as Hurricane Julio with a well defined eye follows. (AP Photo/NOAA)
    This image provided by NOAA taken at 2 a.m. EDT Friday Aug. 8, 2014 shows Hurricane Iselle approaching the Island of Hawaii, left as Hurricane Julio with a well defined eye follows. (AP Photo/NOAA)
    Reuters

    Tropical Storm Iselle battered Hawaii with driving winds and rising surf on Friday, knocking down trees and causing power outages, the first of two major storms due to hit the archipelago as the more powerful Hurricane Julio gathered steam behind it.

    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 areas of East Hawaii from the Puna area to the town of Hilo.

    Hawaii Electric Light Company had about 5,000 customers without power, mostly in East Hawaii, a Hawaii County official said.

    With its eye still about 50 miles (80 km) south of Hilo, on the Big island, Iselle had weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, packing maximum sustained winds near 70 miles per hour (110 kph), with higher gusts, the U.S. Central Pacific Hurricane Center said in a statement about an hour before midnight on Thursday.

    The storm could still bring waves of up to 25 feet (8 meters) on southeast-facing shores on the Big Island over the next few hours before passing south of the state's smaller islands on Friday, Central Pacific Hurricane Center meteorologist Tom Evans said.

    "With a few hours before the center making landfall we can still see that high surf on the southeast-facing shore of the Big Island," Evans said.

    Farther east, Hurricane Julio had gained momentum and was expected to pass just north of Hawaii by late Monday, Evans said.

    That hurricane was upgraded late on Thursday to a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds increasing to near 120 mph (195 kph), the National Hurricane Center said. It was moving west-northwest at 16 mph (26 kph) and was expected to weaken through Saturday.

    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.

    "Everybody knows that a real rough time is coming," Abercrombie told a news conference.

    Hawaii's schools would be closed on Friday, but authorities planned to keep airports open so planes could land in an emergency although some airlines had canceled flights, officials said. Several shopping malls on Oahu would also be closed.

    Malia Baron, an Oahu resident visiting the Big Island, known for its volcanoes, black-sand beaches and coffee farms, reported the weather as blustery late on Thursday.

    "Our power is out again. It's been on and off all evening and we were lucky enough to finish cooking before one of the longer outages," she said.

    Election Plans

    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 was.

    Preparations for a primary election scheduled for Saturday continued, officials said, but added they would reassess how to proceed on Friday after Iselle hits.

    On the Big Island, a downpour soaked customers who dashed from cars to the Sunshine True Value Hardware store in Kapaau only to discover shelves already 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 said.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora