Iselle set for direct hit, Julio looms behind – Hawaii storms
It’s been reported that Hawaiians are preparing for a potentially devastating one-two tropical cyclone punch, starting with Hurricane Iselle, which in a rarity for the state could make direct landfall Thursday evening. Iselle, on track to pass over the Big Island of Hawaii as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph, could bring up to 12 inches of rain, life-threatening storm surges, flash floods and mudslides, forecasters say.
Hurricane Julio, churning behind Iselle, could affect the islands two days later, though forecasters expect it to brush the state only with its outer bands as it passes to the north as a weakened tropical storm.
Customers picked through stores for groceries and other supplies Wednesday night. At many locations, such as KTA in Waimea, bottled water was sold out, leaving the seller scrambling to get more.
Flash flooding on already saturated islands will be a main threat, along with mudslides from some of the mountainous terrain into populated areas.
“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said in its public advisory on Iselle early Thursday.
A hurricane warning was in effect for the easternmost populated island, Hawaii, with some of the state’s other islands — Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe – bracing for tropical storm conditions, with sustained winds of under 73 mph.
Even as the storms approached Hawaii, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday it is more confident that the other side of North America will see a below-average tropical cyclone year.
NOAA said that there is now a 70% chance that the number of named storms in the Atlantic this year will be at or below the 30-year average of 12. NOAA had put the chance at 50% on May 22.
“We are more confident that a below-normal season will occur because atmospheric and oceanic conditions that suppress cyclone formation have developed and will persist through the season,” Gerry Bell, lead seasonal forecaster with the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, said.