NOAA satellite image from this morning.
Hurricane Iselle is expected to slam into the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday night, with winds of 60 to 95 miles an hour and a storm surge of 1-2 feet. Forecasters predict five to eight inches of rain to fall on the Big Island and have put the entire state on a flash flood watch. The height of the volcanoes on the Big Island might weaken Iselle to tropical storm status before it blows toward Maui to the west. Schools and beaches are closed, and residents are stocking up on water and supplies.
Hurricane Iniki in 1992 was the last hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii. This week's weather picture is complicated by the presence of Hurricane Julio trailing a new days behind Iselle and aimed as of this morning a little north of the Hawaiian islands.
Just to top off the anxiety people must feel, there was a 4.2 magnitude earthquake on the Big Island this morning. "No tsunami is expected," authorities announced.
Curious what they tell people to do to prepare for a hurricane? This is from the National Weather Service:
For those under a warning, your preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. In a hurricane, conditions can change quickly. Evacuate if directed to do so by local officials, or if your home is vulnerable to high winds or flooding. Cancel any beach activities until further notice. Persons living near the shore should be prepared to evacuate quickly should building surf threaten.
It is vital that you do not focus on the exact forecast track. Forecast movement, direction, and speed are only estimates. Even small errors in the forecast track can mean major differences in where the worst conditions will occur. Damaging effects can extend far from the center.
Be ready to evacuate if necessary. Heed the advice of local officials and comply with any orders that are issued. Persons living near the shore should be prepared to evacuate quickly should building surf threaten.
At ports, docks, and marinas, perform the prescribed preparations according to your emergency operations plan. If you live on a boat, begin to safely secure your craft and make plans to leave it for adequate land based shelter.
Small craft should return to port or seek safe harbor.
Loose objects such as lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other items should be secured or stored indoors. Have supplies on hand and be ready for power outages. Evacuate if ordered by local officials.
Tropical storms can bring very heavy rain leading to flash flooding. People near streams, rivers, and low-lying flood prone areas are urged to be especially alert to flash flooding.