Hawaii Braces For Hurricane Iselle, Its Latest "I"-Named Rare Hurricane
For the first time since September 1992, Hawaii will face a direct hit from a hurricane. And not just once, but twice. Islanders brace as Hurricanes Iselle and Julio are set to hit Hawaii Thursday, and once again over the weekend.
Forecasters predict that Iselle will make landfall on Hawaii's Big Island on Thursday afternoon, toting with her 70 mph winds and up to a foot of rainfall. Julio, the weaker of the two, will brush the island on Sunday, further weakening as it passes. Though the Big Island is going to face the brunt of the storm, there are storm warnings in effect for Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu, and schools have closed on the Big Island and Maui in anticipation of Iselle.
Hawaii's Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation on Wednesday, which will grant him access to the legislature's disaster fund and make it easier to access federal aid if the state needs it.
The locals are split on the threat level of the hurricanes. While some are simply anticipating good surf, others are getting a little superstitious about Iselle.
"It's an ‘I’ and it’s been ‘I's the last two times. … It's not something you take lightly," a Kahala resident told Hawaii News Now. The last hurricane to directly strike Hawaii in 1992 was Iniki, and before that, Iwa in 1982. So the "I" thing isn't taken so lightly for islanders.
Costco shelves stripped of bottled water, toilet paper, and other necessities indicate that though there may be some adventurous beach bums ready to capitalize on the swell, the majority of the island is bracing for the worst. CNN reported long lines for gas in Honolulu.
But the islanders aren't the only ones with little experience with hurricanes. The National Weather Service has so rarely had the chance to study Hawaiian hurricanes that they are unsure if the interaction between Iselle and the Big Island's two volcanoes will feed or weaken the storm.
But, hey! In an occurrence almost as rare as a Hawaiian hurricane, airlines are being super cool about this whole Hawaiian storm-of-the-decade thing. So if your vacation was derailed by Iselle and Julio, fear not, weary traveler. Hawaiian Airlines has waived its reservation-change fee temporarily, along with other airlines, and hotels are prepping guests with hurricane information and potential evacuation routes, though many have reported that guests have changed their reservation altogether.