Tropical Storm Iselle makes landfall on Hawaii

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

HONOLULU (AP) -- This is what Associated Press reporters on the scene are learning as the first tropical storm in 22 years hits Hawaii:

   2:45 a.m. HST

   Kimo Makuakane and his family waited up all night for Iselle to hit the Big Island. While the rest of his family slept early Friday, Makuakane continued to wait for the storm to make landfall. He said from his Hilo home, "Lots of rain, very windy here." No one is out on the streets. He can hear the trees rustling and roofs rattling.

   2 a.m. HST

   Maui County spokesman Ryan Piros was up in the mayor's office in Wailuku, listening to a mostly quiet police scanner. He says it's raining outside and the wind is cranking.

   1:54 a.m. HST

   Tropical Storm Iselle weakened further early Friday as it clamored toward the Hawaii shore. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the system's maximum sustained winds slowed from 70 mph to 60 mph. Iselle is expected to weaken further over the coming two days.

   12 a.m. HST

   The National Weather Service issues a flash-flood warning for the Big Island.

   11:31 p.m. HST

   Maui County officials say about 2,700 customers lost power in parts of Pukalani, an inland town roughly 10 miles from Maui's main airport. Power was restored for another 120 customers who lost electricity because of wind debris hitting power lines.

   11:05 p.m. HST

   National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Brenchley says Tropical Storm Iselle is about 30 miles from hitting Hawaii's Big Island, traveling about 10 mph. The storm's center is expected to hit south of Hilo.

   10:50 p.m. HST

   The National Weather Service downgrades Iselle from a hurricane to a tropical storm, saying the system has sustained winds of 70 mph as its eye approaches the Big Island about 50 miles east of Hilo.

   9:45 p.m. HST

   National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Lau says Hurricane Iselle is about 55 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, traveling toward the Big Island at 15 mph and slowing down.

   9:15 p.m. HST

   The Polynesian Cultural Center, a popular tourist attraction near Oahu's north shore, announces it will be closed Friday because of the storm.

   9:05 p.m. HST

   On Maui, power to a water treatment plant went out, prompting county officials to ask Kula residents in the middle of the island to conserve water.

   8:20 p.m. HST

   A geothermal plant on the Big Island released an unknown amount of steam containing hydrogen sulfide, a smelly, poisonous compound. Crews were working to control the release and monitor the emissions, while nearby residents were urged to evacuate if they experience discomfort, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi's office said.

   8:14 p.m. HST

   Oahu plans to run shuttle service to evacuation centers from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m., Honolulu's Department of Emergency Management said.

   6:49 p.m. HST

   Gov. Neil Abercrombie says President Barack Obama has been briefed on Hurricane Iselle, according to Abercrombie's official Twitter account.

   5:57 p.m. HST

   Hurricane Julio has strengthened into a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. The National Hurricane Center said Thursday evening it expects the storm to slowly weaken by Friday night.

   Julio is more than 1,000 miles behind Hurricane Iselle, which is expected to make landfall on the Big Island overnight.

   5:17 p.m. HST

   Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say power is out in two communities on the Big Island, including Waimea, a town of about 9,200 people near the island's north shore, and Puna, a district scattered with residents south of Hilo.

   An evacuation shelter in Pahoa with at least 140 evacuees also lost power. Electrical crews are working to restore power, but there's no estimate of when it would come back online.

   4:15 p.m. HST

   Passengers at the Honolulu International Airport spilled out to the curb Thursday, and lines wrapped around the TSA screening area as people tried to leave before the storm hit.

   After high winds hit Maui, California couple Rudy Cruz and Ashley Dochnahl left the island earlier than planned, getting to Oahu but failing to secure a flight back home.

   "We were trying to beat it, but we now will have to ride it out," Cruz said.

   4:15 p.m. HST

   The Hawaii National Guard sent the bulk of its aircraft to bases on the West Coast on Thursday morning so they wouldn't be damaged by the storm. Lt. Col. Charles Anthony says tankers can bring back people and supplies to deal with damage if needed.

   3:44 p.m. HST

   In a live interview on KHON-TV, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi says there are no major injuries or damage yet on the Big Island from the first bits of wind and rain from the outer edges of the storm.

   3:44 p.m. HST

   Asked at a news conference whether the state would be able to recover from Hurricane Iselle and respond to Hurricane Julio at the same time, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said: "We can walk and chew gum at the same time."

HONOLULU (AP) -- The National Weather Service says the eye of Tropical Storm Iselle has made landfall on Hawaii's Big Island.

It is the first hurricane or tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years, and another hurricane is following in its path. Hurricane Julio, a Category 3 storm, is about 1,000 miles behind in the Pacific.

Iselle's eye swept onto shore about 5 miles east of Pahala with winds at 60 mph at 2:30 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time.

Iselle was expected to pass overnight across the Big Island, known for coffee fields, volcanoes and black sand beaches, then send rain and high winds to the rest of the state on Friday. The storm's predicted track had it skirting just south of the other islands.

Wind and rain from the system still had enough force to knock down trees, cause power outages and block roads on the Big Island. No deaths or major injuries were reported.

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