ISELLE WEAKENING; TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Central Pacific Hurricane Center has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the Big Island as weakening Hurricane Iselle continues on its path towards the Hawaiian islands. A Tropical Storm Watch is still in effect for Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Maui. At 5 a.m. Iselle was located about 720 miles east-southeast of Hilo and was moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, making it a Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane force winds of 74 miles per hour or more currently extend 30 miles from the center. Tropical storm force winds (39-74 mph) extend outward up to 140 miles. Additional weakening is forecast and Iselle may become a tropical storm later today or tonight.The outer winds of the storm may be felt on the Big Island by Thursday afternoon.. The center of the storm is forecast to come ashore south of Hilo about 8 p.m. that day. However, it is still too soon to say with complete certainty which islands will be likely to experience the worst weather. Even with a forecast track, there is a 100-mile margin of error three days out, so everyone in Hawaii should be prepared for the possibility of a direct impact from Iselle.Forecasters and emergency management officials say you should prepare now for the possibility of heavy rain, flooding, strong winds, power outages, large surf and coastal surges. Heavy rain is expected to begin falling on the Big Island Thursday and spread to the rest of the state Thursday night and Friday. The rains could cause life-threatening flooding and mudslides. Swells from Iselle could begin reaching the state late Tuesday and Wednesday and may become damaging by Thursday.Iselle is the ninth named tropical cyclone in the Eastern Pacific this hurricane season. We are only two months into the six month season, which runs through November 30.