Maui News

Iselle 5 p.m. Update: Outer Rain Bands of Iselle Move Onshore

August 7, 2014, 5:49 PM HST
* Updated August 7, 7:36 PM
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Satellite imagery of Iselle at 5 p.m. HST, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Image courtesy CPHC/NOAA/NWS.

Satellite imagery of Iselle at 5 p.m. HST, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Image courtesy CPHC/NOAA/NWS.

By Wendy Osher

(Update: 5 p.m. & 5:45 p.m.  8/7/2014)

Iselle is still a hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph, with some slight weakening recorded over the last six hours. At 5 p.m., the system was located about 90 miles ESE of Hilo, Hawaiʻi and 210 miles SE of Kahului, Maui, and was moving W at 15 mph.

Mike Cantin with the National Weather Service says the system is still on track to make landfall on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi over the next several hours. “We’re beginning to see winds pick up out of the NNE and impacting the eastern side of the Big Island with gusts of as high as 30+ mph around Hilo right now,” Cantin said in a 5 p.m. press conference.

“We are seeing some gusts in Pahoa in the 30 to 40 mph range. Further north towards Waimea, wind gusts are as high as almost 50 mph already. With wind gusts like that you begin to take down some branches and maybe some power lines,” said Cantin.

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Cantin is reporting steady rainfall falling in Puna, Kaʻu, and the Hilo districts over the last several hours, with about an inch recorded in the last hour or two. “We expect that to continue with the heavier rain and stronger winds just offshore working its way in over the next couple of hours.”

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“Elsewhere across the state it looks like (Iselle is making a) progression towards Maui County and the western islands overnight into tomorrow. So folks need to finish up those last minute preparations and get ready for the storm,” said Cantin.

In earlier reports, authorities with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the onset on Maui was projected to be between 9 and 10 p.m. tonight (8/7/2014).  A Maui specific update was provided in a mid-day press conference conducted by Mayor Arakawa.

Cantin said that right now, all is going as expected. “The storm is slowly weakening. It’s approaching the Big Island as a minimal hurricane/high-end tropical storm as we expected. Right now the worst conditions should be on the Big Island over the next several hours into the overnight period, and then it becomes a tropical storm and begins to weaken fairly significantly as it moves further west.”

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“What you see on the Big Island now is kind of the upper end of what to expect across the state and we will see less impacts as we go further west — still significant (folks need to keep that in mind), but what we see on the Big Island will be more than what we see elsewhere,” said Cantin.

Flood Advisory Issued for Hawaiʻi Island:

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for Hawaiʻi Island at 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. At 4:05 p.m., radar showed heavy rain over the south Hilo and Puna districts as outer rain bands from Hurricane Iselle move onshore. The rain bands have been moving rapidly toward the southwest, but additional bands will continue over the next several hours.

Other locations in the advisory include: Hilo, Mountain View, Pahoa, Keaʻau, Honomu, Hakalau, Glenwood, and Volcano.

A flash-flood watch is also in effect for Hawaiʻi County through 6 a.m. on Saturday. The watch may need to be extended beyond 7 p.m. if heavy rain persists.

Julio Increases to a Category 3 Hurricane:

Despite a marginal environment, the National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Julio, which is on the heels of Iselle, has become better organized over the past several hours with warming temperatures in the eye and strong convection in the eyewall.

Julio is now the fourth major hurricane of the season and is now considered a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

At 5 p.m., the system was located 1060 miles east of Hilo, and had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.

The NHC says little change in strength is forecast through Friday, with slow weakening expected to begin on Friday evening.

Officials with the National Weather Service say the state may feel the impacts of Julio as early as Sunday, and possibly into early next week.

Tropical Storm Warning Remains in effect for Maui:

Below is the latest forecast advisory issued by the National Weather Service for Maui County at 5:45 p.m. 8/7/2014):

..WINDS…
BASED ON THE LATEST FORECAST TRACK…WINDS OVER 40 MPH ARE
EXPECTED TO OVERSPREAD THE AREA TONIGHT AND CONTINUE THROUGH LATE
FRIDAY MORNING. IN SOME AREAS…WINDS WILL BE AS HIGH AS 45 TO
55 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 65 MPH.GUSTS WILL BE STRONGEST OVER MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN…THROUGH
PASSES…AND WHERE WINDS BLOW DOWNSLOPE. WINDS AFFECTING THE
UPPER FLOORS OF HIGH RISE BUILDINGS WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY
STRONGER THAN THOSE NEAR GROUND LEVEL.HOMES MAY HAVE DAMAGE TO SHINGLES…SIDING…GUTTERS AND
WINDOWS…ESPECIALLY IF THESE ITEMS ARE NOT PROPERLY SECURED.
LOOSE OUTDOOR ITEMS WILL BECOME AIRBORNE…CAUSING ADDITIONAL
DAMAGE AND POSSIBLE INJURY.SOME POWER LINES WILL BE KNOCKED DOWN BY FALLING TREES…
RESULTING IN SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES. MANY LARGE BRANCHES OF
TREES WILL BE SNAPPED…AND A FEW TREES WILL BE UPROOTED...STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE…
SURF WILL STEADILY INCREASE TO HAZARDOUS LEVELS OF 18 FEET ALONG

THE EXPOSED WINDWARD COASTS OVERNIGHT. SOME SOUTH FACING SHORES

WILL SEE SURF NEAR 10 FEET ON FRIDAY. THE ASTRONOMICAL HIGH TIDE

FOR HANA EARLIER TODAY WAS AT 142 PM AT 2.7 FEET AND WILL BE AT
218 PM AT 2.9 FEET ON FRIDAY. THE HIGH SURF AND HIGH TIDE

COMBINATION WILL BRING THE POTENTIAL FOR COASTAL FLOODING ALONG
LOW LYING AREAS...INLAND FLOODING…
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE ENTIRE AREA. HEAVY
RAINFALL OF AROUND 5 TO 8 INCHES IS EXPECTED WITH ISOLATED
RAINFALL TOTALS OF 12 INCHES. THESE HEAVY RAINS COULD LEAD TO
LIFE THREATENING FLASH FLOODS.
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