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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid