Home >> World

Hawaii braces for Hurricane Iselle

Hurricane Iselle is set to hit Hawaii becoming the first direct hurricane to hit the region in 22 years.

After Iselle, Hurricane Julio, which gained strength on Thursday and has now turned into a Category 2 storm, will hit Hawaii.

State officials said that they have made necessary arrangements to deal with the hurricane and have asked people not to panic.

Travelers were informed about disrupted flights Thursday when Island Air announced that it had decided to cancel some afternoon flights between the islands and shutting down all operations Friday.

Hurricane Iselle would hit the Big Island on Thursday evening and it would bring heavy rains and winds gusting up to 85 mph in the region. Some areas could also get flooded. On Wednesday, weather officials changed their outlook on the system after they found that the whole system was getting a little stronger.

"What ended up happening is the storm has resurged just enough to keep its hurricane strength," said Mike Cantin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Cantin added that the change in outlook of the system means stronger winds of 60 to 70 mph. "Not a major hurricane, but definitely enough to blow things around," he said.

On Thursday, Iselle loomed about 400 miles east of Hilo with sustained winds of 85 mph and traveling about 18 mph. Cantin expressed hope that size and terrain of the Big Island would play an important role in breaking up the hurricane.

It will weaken into a tropical storm as it passes Maui and Oahu late Thursday and early Friday.

"The volcanoes on the Big Island will do a number on the system," he said. Hurricane Julio is closely behind Iselle and it has maximum winds whipping at 100 mph.