Hurricane Iselle intensifies as it bears down on Hawaii

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Hurricane Iselle intensifies as it bears down on Hawaii
Amazing sight here in Hilo, HI. The Wailuku River rose 13 feet in just 12 hours, says @WXmel6. http://t.co/i253kQSnXA
Rain falls on Diamond Head and Waikiki in Honolulu on the island of Oahu on Friday, Aug, 8, 2014. Iselle came ashore onto the Big Island early Friday as a weakened tropical storm, while Hurricane Julio, close behind it, strengthened and is forecasted to pass north of the islands. Iselle is the first tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
Two surfers head for the waves in Honolulu on Friday, Aug, 8, 2014. High surf is expected in some spots on Oahu due to Tropical Storm Iselle. Iselle came ashore early Friday as a weakened tropical storm, while Hurricane Julio, close behind it, strengthened and is forecasted to pass north of the islands. Iselle is the first tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
With a rainbow in the background, a surfer paddles to shore in Honolulu on Friday, Aug, 8, 2014. Iselle came ashore early Friday as a weakened tropical storm, while Hurricane Julio, close behind it, strengthened and is forecasted to pass north of the islands. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
In preparation for heavy winds, workers at the Hale Koa Hotel remove an awning from an outdoor stage in Honolulu on Friday, Aug, 8, 2014. Iselle came ashore early Friday as a weakened tropical storm, while Hurricane Julio, close behind it, strengthened and is forecasted to pass north of the islands. Iselle is the first tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
This image provided by NOAA taken at 2 a.m. EDT Friday Aug. 8, 2014 shows Hurricane Iselle approaching the Island of Hawaii, left as Hurricane Julio with a well defined eye follows. (AP Photo/NOAA)
A sea turtle lies on the beach in Kailua, Hawaii on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Iselle, Hawaii is expected to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Tracking close behind it is Hurricane Julio. (AP Photo/Chris Stewart)
A sign inside the Walmart McDonalds restaurant alerts customers that it sent its employees home early in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, as the area prepares for Hurricane Iselle. Hurricane Iselle is expected to arrive on the Big Island on Thursday evening, bringing heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding in some areas. Weather officials changed their outlook on the system Wednesday after seeing it get a little stronger, giving it enough oomph to stay a hurricane as it reaches landfall. (AP Photo/Chris Stewart)
A hurricane warning sign is shown posted on the beach in Kailua, Hawaii, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014., as the area prepares for Hurricane Iselle. Hurricane Iselle is expected to arrive on the Big Island on Thursday evening, bringing heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding in some areas. Weather officials changed their outlook on the system Wednesday after seeing it get a little stronger, giving it enough oomph to stay a hurricane as it reaches landfall. (AP Photo/Chris Stewart)
A sea turtle lies on the beach in Kailua, Hawaii on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Iselle, Hawaii is expected to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Tracking close behind it is Hurricane Julio. (AP Photo/Chris Stewart)
Clouds hang over Honolulu, seen from the top of Tanalus Drive on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Iselle, Hawaii is expected to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Tracking close behind it is Hurricane Julio. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
This image provided by NOAA taken at 2 a.m. EDT Friday Aug. 8, 2014 shows Hurricane Iselle approaching the Island of Hawaii, left as Hurricane Julio with a well defined eye follows. (AP Photo/NOAA)
NOAA satellite loop of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio taken on Thursday, August 7, 2014. Both are heading for Hawaii in a rare case of back-to-back hurricanes for Hawaii. Iselle will be the first hurricane to hit Hawaii in 22 years.
Staff members of the Royal Kona Resort in Kailua, Hawaii take down umbrellas as the resort prepares for Hurricane Iselle on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Hurricane Iselle is expected to arrive on the Big Island on Thursday evening, bringing heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding in some areas. Weather officials changed their outlook on the system Wednesday after seeing it get a little stronger, giving it enough oomph to stay a hurricane as it reaches landfall. (AP Photo/Chris Stewart)
A traffic jam forms in front of the Menehune Water Company as customers wait to purchase water from the company, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in Aiea, Hawaii. Hawaii is bracing for two back to back hurricanes, Iselle and Julio, which are on course to hit the Islands. Bottles of water are quickly disappearing off shelves in Hawaii causing many people to line up for several hours to purchase water directly from the water company. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
People line up at the Menehune Water Company to purchase cases of water and fill up water jugs in Aiea, Hawaii on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Hurricanes Iselle and Julio approaching, bottles of water are disappearing off shelves in Hawaii prompting many to line up for several hours to purchase water directly from the company. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
People line up at the Menehune Water Company to purchase cases of water and fill up water jugs in Aiea, Hawaii on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Hurricanes Iselle and Julio approaching, bottles of water are disappearing off shelves in Hawaii prompting many to line up for several hours to purchase water directly from the company. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
Beach goers are seen on Waikiki Beach, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in Honolulu. Hawaii is bracing for both Hurricane Iselle and Julio which are on course to hit the Hawaiian Islands. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
Anne Kllingshirn of Kailua, Hawaii walks with her daughter Emma, 1, as storm clouds are are seen during the sunrise hours on Kailua Beach, in Kailua, Hawaii, Thursday morning Aug. 7, 2014 . Hurricane Iselle is expected to arrive on the Big Island on Thursday evening, bringing heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding in some areas. Weather officials changed their outlook on the system Wednesday after seeing it get a little stronger, giving it enough oomph to stay a hurricane as it reaches landfall. (AP Photo/Luci Pemoni)
While surrounded by state and local officials, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie speaks at a news conference at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency in Diamond Head, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in Honolulu. Hawaii is bracing for two back to back hurricanes, Iselle and Julio, which are on course to hit the Hawaiian Islands. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
A group of tourists from California head into the water for a surf lesson in Waikiki in Honolulu on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Iselle, Hawaii is expected to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Tracking close behind it is Hurricane Julio. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
A couple reads a weather update written on a white board in the lobby of a hotel in Waikiki in Honolulu on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Iselle, Hawaii is expected to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Tracking close behind it is Hurricane Julio. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
Tourist Denise Newland of New Zealand reads a hurricane update in the lobby of a hotel in Waikiki in Honolulu on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Iselle, Hawaii is expected to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Tracking close behind it is Hurricane Julio. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
People walk past a pallet of bottled water being delivered to a shop in Waikiki in Honolulu on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. With Iselle, Hawaii is expected to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Tracking close behind it is Hurricane Julio. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
On Aug. 5, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite captured natural-color images of both Iselle and Hurricane Julio en route to Hawaii. This image is a composite of three satellite passes over the tropical Pacific Ocean in the early afternoon.

NOAA satellite loop of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio taken on Thursday, August 7, 2014. Both are heading for Hawaii in a rare case of back-to-back hurricanes for Hawaii. Iselle, expected to make landfall Thursday night, will be the first hurricane to hit Hawaii in 22 years.

Graphic shows the current and forecasted location and storm information for Hurricanes Iselle and Julio; 3c x 3 3/4 inches; 146 mm x 95 mm;
NOAA satellite loop of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio taken on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. Both are heading for Hawaii in an unusual one-two punch of Pacific tropical storm systems.
NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of Hurricane Iselle over the Pacific Ocean at 10:40 a.m. Hawaiian daylight time on August 4, 2014.
Graphic shows the current and forecasted location and storm information for Hurricanes Iselle and Julio; 3c x 3 3/4 inches; 146 mm x 95 mm;
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 6: In this handout provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the GOES-East satellite, four separate weather system (L-R) Halong, Genevieve, Iselle, and Julio are tracked in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States pictured at 0z on August 6, 2014. High pressure from the North is forcing Hurricane Iselle, with top winds of 85 miles and Hurricane Julio, with winds of 75 mph towards the islands of Hawaii. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)
NOAA satellite loop of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio taken on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. Both are heading for Hawaii in an unusual one-two punch of Pacific tropical storm systems.
NOAA satellite loop of Tropical Storm Julio taken on Wedesday, August 6, 2014. Both Julio and Hurricane Iselle are heading for Hawaii in an unusual one-two punch of Pacific tropical storm systems.
This image provided by NOAA taken Wednesday Aug. 6, 2014 shows Hurricane Iselle, center, and tropical storm Julio, right. Though it's not clear how damaging the storms could be, many in Hawaii aren't taking any chances as they wait for Hurricane Iselle to make landfall later this week and Tropical Storm Julio potentially hitting a few days later. (AP Photo/NOAA)
Shoppers lift cases of bottled water in preparation for a hurricane and tropical storm heading toward Hawaii at the Iwilei Costco in Honolulu on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Two big storms so close together is rare in the eastern Pacific. Hurricane Iselle could make landfall by Friday and Tropical Storm Julio could hit two or three days later, weather officials said. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Acting Director Tom Evans of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center speaks during a briefing in Honolulu on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Weather forecasters are predicting four to seven tropical cyclones in the central Pacific Ocean during this year's hurricane season. (AP Photo/Oskar Garcia)
NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured this image of a very active Eastern and Central Pacific, hosting three tropical cyclones (from left to right) Genevieve, Iselle and Julio.
Shoppers stock up on cases of bottled water and other supplies in preparation for a hurricane and tropical storm heading toward Hawaii at the Iwilei Costco in Honolulu on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Two big storms so close together is rare in the eastern Pacific, and Hurricane Iselle could make landfall by Friday and Tropical Storm Julio could hit two or three days later, weather officials said. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Pedestrians walk along Waikiki beach in Honolulu on Monday, July 29, 2013 as Tropical Storm Flossie approached Hawaii. The storm faded through the morning, but forecasters were still warning residents and tourists to brace for possible flooding, wind gusts, mudslides and big waves. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Few people visited Waikiki beach in Honolulu on Monday, July 29, 2013 as Tropical Storm Flossie approached Hawaii. The storm faded through the morning, but forecasters were still warning residents and tourists to brace for possible flooding, wind gusts, mudslides and big waves. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
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By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER and AUDREY McAVOY

HONOLULU (AP) -- Weather officials say a hurricane approaching Hawaii won't weaken into a tropical storm before passing over the islands as they had predicted.

Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters now say Hurricane Iselle appears to have strengthened and will maintain its speed as it passes the Big Island Thursday night.

Hurricane Julio, meanwhile, has followed closely behind and is expected to pass the islands this weekend.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed an emergency proclamation activating a major disaster fund set aside by the state Legislature.

Residents have been stocking up on supplies such as bottled water and canned meat. Some tourists are changing vacation plans, either by going home early or cancelling trips.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Washington state couple Tracy Black and Chris Kreifels are used to rainy weather but weren't expecting hurricane conditions for their destination wedding in Hawaii.

The couple from Mill Creek, Washington arrived on the Big Island Tuesday ahead of their Saturday wedding to news that two hurricanes are barreling toward the islands.

Hurricane Iselle is expected to hit the Big Island Thursday afternoon, so they were making plans to adjust their outdoor ceremony on a ranch. Hurricane Julio is on track to pass north of islands over the weekend. Black says some guests traveling from the mainland are worried.

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel says a few guests have been changing their plans, either by going home early, extending their stays or canceling trips all together.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Hawaii residents furiously stocked up on essentials as two hurricanes churned toward the islands, prompting flash flood warnings, closing schools and disrupting travel plans across the islands.

Hurricane Iselle loomed about 600 miles east of the Big Island early Wednesday, spinning at 85 mph. Weather officials predicted it would weaken but said it could strike the city of Hilo Thursday with tropical storm-force winds of about 50 mph.

Hurricane Julio swirled closely behind at about 75 mph. Forecasters expected the storm to strengthen and pass north of the Hawaiian Islands sometime this weekend.

"Hawaii should be more interested now in Hurricane Iselle, which is closer," said Lixion Avlia, senior hurricane forecaster with National Hurricane Center in Miami. He said Hurricane Julio remained too far away to accurately predict its path.

Hawaii has been directly hit by hurricanes only three times since 1950, though the region has had 147 tropical cyclones over that time. The last time Hawaii was hit with a tropical storm or hurricane was in 1992, when Hurricane Iniki killed six people and destroyed more than 1,400 homes in Kauai, said Eric Lau, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

"We've been lucky so far," he said. "So we just need to really take this threat seriously and make sure everybody is prepared."

Residents have seemed to heed that call this week. A grocery store in the coastal Oahu community of Waianae opened 15 minutes early Tuesday because people were already lined up to buy supplies. Bottled water and cans of Spam and Vienna Sausage flew off the shelves, said Charlie Gustafson, general manager of Tamura's Supermarket.

Judy Castillo of Oahu, meanwhile, pushed a cart with two cases of water and other items from a drug store to her car. "Two storms in a row? It's like, Hello?" she said.

The storms have prompted public schools on the Big Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai to close Thursday, state education officials said.

For its part, Hawaiian Airlines will waive reservation change fees and fare differences for passengers who need to alter travel plans because of the storms. The airline said fees will be waived for those who are ticketed to travel Thursday and Friday. They will be allowed to change reservations for flights through Aug. 12.

Chris Pruett of Waikiki was anticipating the silver lining that comes from bad weather: good waves.

"We're just getting water and preparing ourselves, too, because it could be bad," he said. "Of course we're not looking for a storm ... but it tends to generate good waves."

The clustered storms are rare but not unexpected in years with a developing El Nino, a change in ocean temperature that affects weather around the world.

In the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Bertha continues to weaken as it moves north, posing no direct threat to the U.S. East Coast. The storm's maximum sustained winds decreased to near 50 mph Tuesday evening with even more weakening expected over the next two days.

On Sunday, the storm buffeted parts of the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos with rain and gusty winds, after passing over the Dominican Republic. Earlier, it dumped rain on Puerto Rico.

Ahead of this year's hurricane season, weather officials warned that the wide swath of the Pacific Ocean that includes Hawaii could see four to seven tropical cyclones this year.

In preparation, some people in Hawaii are making sure to vote early in the primary elections, which are Saturday. The elections include several marquee races, including primaries for U.S. Senate, governor and a U.S. House seat covering urban Honolulu.

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Associated Press Writers Doug Esser in Seattle and Oskar Garcia in Honolulu contributed to this report.


Iselle and Julio Target Hawaii

Related:
Hurricane Iniki 1992
Hurricane Iselle Tracker
Hurricane Julio Tracker
Hawaiian Airlines
Tropical Storm Bertha





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