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Hurricane Iselle to Make Landfall Tonight

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Hurricane Iselle, once a Category 4 hurricane, is now a Category 1 hurricane that’s expected to make landfall on Hawaii’s Big Island late tonight.

Current Conditions

iselle currents

Iselle is, at present, churning its way across the central Pacific — packing winds of 80-mph. The storm is currently located about 255 miles east-southeast of Hilo and is moving west-northwest at 17-mph. Hurricane force-winds only extend about 35 miles form the center of circulation, a relatively short difference for a hurricane. Worse yet for the storm, its central pressure is only at a paltry 985 millibars and the trend has the pressure rising in the coming hours. Rising pressure is an indication the storm is weakening a bit.

Watches and Warnings

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Hurricane Warning: Hawaii County

Topical Storm Warning: Maui County, including the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe; Oahu; and Kauai County, including the islands of Kauai and Nihau

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center is advising the following: “Peperations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.”

Forecast

track

Models continue to indicate that Iselle will make landfall as a strong tropical storm sometime late Thursday night, packing winds between around 70-mph.

Tropical storm-force winds are likely to begin in the afternoon on the big Island and conditions will rapidly deteriorate, area wide, throughout the evening hours.

Iselle is likely to bring damaging winds, torrential rain and heavy surf to the Hawaiian Islands. Heavy rain could lead to inland flash flooding and residents of the Big Island should remain aware of what’s happening through the overnight hours. Current forecast guidance suggests a broad swath of 5-8 inches of rain is possible, but under heavy rain bands as much as a foot isn’t totally out of the question.

Storm Surge/Waves

“Large and damaging” surf is expected along the eastern and southern shores through the overnight hours. Storm surge is expected to be 1 to 3 feet above normal sea level on the Big Island.

For the other islands, surf will be larger than normal — with wive heights between 10-15 feet.

More Information

This is the first time hurricane warnings have been issued in Hawaii nearly 21 years. The last time was for Hurricane Fernanda in 1993. The last time a hurricane made landfall in the Hawaiian Islands was 1992’s Hurricane Iniki. That storm’s center of circulation crossed over the western part of the island of Kauai, causing devastating damage. All told, Iniki caused more than $1.8 billion in damage.

WeatherNation meteorologists will be monitoring the situation as it develops.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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