Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014
HONOLULU (AP) -- This is what Associated Press reporters on the scene are learning as the first hurricane in 22 years bears down on Hawaii:
8:05 a.m. HST
At the White House, President Barack Obama was briefed by his homeland security adviser on preparations for the storms that are threatening his birthplace. Spokesman Josh Earnest said administration officials will remain in close contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies that are that are preparing to help with response and recovery efforts as the storms near.
7:45 a.m. HST
Hawaii has been directly hit by hurricanes only three times since 1950, though the region has had 147 tropical cyclones over that time. Meteorologist Eric Lau said 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 meteorologist Eric Lau.
7:20 a.m. HST
Hurricane Iselle was supposed to weaken as it slowly trudged west across the Pacific. It didn't -- and now Hawaii is poised to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years. Iselle is on course to hit the Big Island tonight, and is being tailed by Hurricane Julio, which strengthened early today into a Category 2 storm.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey reports a magnitude 4.5 earthquake has rattled Hawaii's Big Island. There were no immediate reports of damage.
It struck as residents were waking up to make last-minute trips to grocery stores and boarding up their homes ahead of the first hurricane set to hit the Hawaiian islands in more than two decades.
At a grocery store in Waimea, an employee said the quake felt like a "little jolt," but it didn't knock things off the shelves.
Hurricane Iselle was supposed to weaken as it moved across the Pacific, but it didn't do so. Following close behind is Hurricane Julio, which strengthened early today into a Category 2 storm.
State officials say the islands are ready for the storms. They say people should prepare, but not panic.
Iselle is expected to arrive on the Big Island this evening, bringing heavy rains and winds gusting up to 85 miles an hour, with flooding in some areas. Julio's maximum winds are whipping at 105 miles an hour. Forecasters expect it to get stronger before gradually weakening by tonight.
(Copyright 2014. The Associated Press.)