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Hawaii: Center of Iselle lashes Hawaii's Big Island

By Reuters & ABC News — last modified Aug 08, 2014 08:08 PM
HONOLULU (Reuters) - The center of Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall on Hawaii's Big Island today (Friday) with strong winds and heavy rain, knocking down trees and causing power outages ahead of a more powerful storm gathering steam behind it.

Published: 2014-08-07 23:00:00
Topics: Weather
Countries: Hawaii

Hawaii: Center of Iselle lashes Hawaii's Big Island

The path of hurricane Julio: © ABC News

While Iselle has weakened to a tropical storm, according to the U.S. Central Pacific Hurricane Center, it is being closely followed by Julio, a Category 3 hurricane set to reach Hawaii on Monday.

Hawaii hasn't seen a tropical storm for 22 years because hurricanes gain steam in warm water, and the water surrounding the islands is cool. This unusual one-two punch could be an effect of a developing El Nino pattern, the National Weather Service said.

More than 1,200 people flocked to evacuation shelters across the Big Island, according to County of Hawaii Civil Defense, as heavy rains and strong winds pummeled areas of East Hawaii from the Puna area to the town of Hilo.

Iselle weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm while its eye was still about 50 miles (80 km) south of Hilo, on the Big island, packing maximum sustained winds near 70 miles per hour (110 kph), with higher gusts.

The storm was expected to bring waves of up to 25 feet (8 meters) on southeast-facing shores on the Big Island before passing south of the state's smaller islands later on day.

Farther east, Hurricane Julio had gained momentum and was expected to pass just north of Hawaii by late Monday.

That hurricane was upgraded late on Thursday to a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds increasing to near 120 mph (195 kph), the National Hurricane Center said. It was moving west-northwest at 16 mph (26 kph) and was expected to weaken through Saturday.

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