Water, Spam fly off Hawaii shelves as storms near

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Water, Spam fly off Hawaii shelves as storms near
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) - Hawaii is used to preparing for tropical storms - stock up on water, toilet paper and other essentials and wait. But actually getting hit with systems like the two approaching the islands? Not as much.

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 by Thursday as a tropical storm and Tropical Storm Julio to follow a few days later. Stores are re-stocking shelves of bottled water, baby supplies and canned meat as soon as they empty as streams of shoppers fill their carts.

Storms are very common in Pacific Ocean waters around Hawaii, with an active season each year.

"Hawaii is a small target in the big ocean, so it just has to be really good timing and the conditions have to be right for us to get a direct hit," said Eric Lau, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

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, Lau said.

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

When a pallet full of bottled water ran out at a Honolulu warehouse store Tuesday, shoppers loading up on supplies hovered around until a worker refilled it. Then, it quickly emptied again.

"Days like today, in a situation like this, we just throw open the doors and hold on for the ride," said Scott Ankrom, assistant general manager of the Costco. The busy store near downtown has had to continually restock water and sold as much of it on Monday as it sold all last week, he said.

Judy Castillo of Oahu said she wanted to make sure her family was prepared before big crowds flooded stores and shelves emptied. "Two storms in a row? It's like, hello," she said, pushing a cart with two cases of water and other items from a drug store to her car.

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.

"Just about every shopping cart I see has at least one case of bottled water. Some as many as eight," he said. "It's all flowing out very fast."

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 second storm system heightened the urgency to prepare, Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said Tuesday. His county, also known as the Big Island, was expected to see Iselle first.

Hurricane Iselle is expected to weaken to a tropical storm when it hits the Big Island on Thursday afternoon and then sweep over the other islands, said Brian Miyamoto, spokesman for State Civil Defense/Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

But "tropical storms are nothing to laugh at" and could bring heavy rains and sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph, he said.

The outlook for Julio is more uncertain: It could hit the islands by Sunday, Miyamoto said.

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.

Before Hurricane Iniki hit Hawaii in 1992, the last hurricane slammed the islands in 1982.

"The central Pacific doesn't see nearly the activity that the Atlantic sees," said James Franklin, chief of hurricane specialists for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

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.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell planned to return two days early from a trip to Japan.

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