Hawaii – Trouble in Paradise

The tropical paradise of Hawaii rarely sees hurricanes and tropical storms. A protective shield of colder water and strong upper-level winds do their best to keep storms at bay. However, that doesn’t mean the Aloha State is immune to hurricanes — it still remains exposed to storms that arrive from the south.



That’s the case today as Tropical Storm Iselle makes its way along the southern shores, bringing rain and wind across Hawaii’s Big Island. It will sweep across Hawaii today with Hurricane Julio following a similar path this weekend. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, Kahoolawe, Niihau and Oahu, including Honolulu.



As of 5 a.m. HST (11 a.m. EDT), Iselle was located near 19.3 N and 156.1 W, or 70 miles west-southwest of Hilo, Hawaii and 180 miles southeast of Honolulu, Hawaii. Iselle’s top sustained winds have decreased to 50 mph and is moving to the west-northwest at 13 mph. Rain amounts will reach 5 to 8 inches across the Big Island. This amount of rain will cause life-threatening flash flooding and downpours. Flash Flood Watches and Warnings remain in effect for the entire island chain. Storm surge of 1 to 2 feet is expected on the Big Island and Kau. Ports across the Big Island and Maui have been close by the Coast Guard ahead of Iselle.

Raw footage of Iselle:

Iselle will likely remain a tropical storm as it sweeps across the Big Island this morning. The storm will then slide south of the rest of the island chain later this afternoon and early Saturday. If Iselle had stayed a hurricane, it would have been the first hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii since Iniki 22 years ago. Regardless, Iselle will weaken considerably as it crosses the Big Islands’s volcanic peaks later today.

Following about 950 miles behind Iselle is Hurricane Julio. It will make a glancing blow on the Hawaii islands northern border this weekend. As of 5 a.m. HST (8 a.m. PDT), Julio was located near 18.2 N, 141.9 W, or about 870 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii, and 1,060 miles east of Honolulu, Hawaii. Julio’s top sustained winds have decreased to 105 mph, making it a Category-Two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Julio is marching west to northwest at 16 mph and will roam well north of the islands this weekend, slowly weakening to a tropical storm by early next week.

Additional resources:

Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones: What’s the Difference?

Do you know a Cat 1 from a Cat 5? Some Key Hurricane Terms

Stay Above Water: Flood Safety 101


Be Prepared. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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This entry was posted in Hurricanes.