Hurricane Iselle inches closer to Hawaii

[no_feature]National Weather Service Hurricane Chart

Our ears and eyes are glued to the TV and National Weather Service. However, for me personally, I am glued to the TV and talking to forecasters more than the average person. You see, for 20 years I worked as a weathercaster on TV News, 15 of those years I spent in Hawaii. As the first observations came out, I was optimistic, but as each forecast updates I am finding myself reviewing weather maps like the old days. Typically, hurricanes that come out of the East tend to weaken due to ocean temperatures. Hurricane Iselle has taken us all for a spin. Instead of weakening, at last report, the hurricane is becoming more defined and has increased in strength.

As of 11:00AM today, hurricane hunters and forecasters are looking at Iselle more seriously. At this point, Iselle is 625 miles East-Southeast of Hilo and about 830 miles East Southeast of Honolulu. The storm is moving West-Northwest at about 16 mph. They now know more. When I say hurricane hunters, this means experts are in a special airplane that flies into the eye of the storm and has the ability to read the current conditions of the hurricane. The eye is now more defined and Iselle’s winds have increased to 90 mph.

Due to these conditions, the National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Hurricane Warning for the Big Island of Hawaii, a Tropical Storm Warning for Maui County and a Tropical Storm Watch for Oahu. When hearing the words watch, warning and advisory here’s what they mean: A warning means conditions are imminent or likely, a watch means that hazardous weather is possible.  Advisories are for less serious conditions than warnings, that cause significant inconvenience and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.

According to forecasters at the National Weather Service in Honolulu, Iselle is expected to bring heavy rain, high surf and damaging winds. Hurricane conditions are expected on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread to Maui County Thursday night and possibly to Oahu on Friday. Swells generated by Iselle are expected to reach the main Hawaiian islands today. The ocean swells reach the islands ahead of the storm and that’s why emergency experts ask people to cancel beach activities until further notice.

There is a second, larger less defined hurricane called Julio right behind Iselle. So, it looks like it’s going to be rainy and windy from Thursday through Sunday. The best part about all of this is Hawaii is prepared. When hurricane Iniki hit in 1992 it changed how Hawaii handles and reacts to severe weather and hurricanes. All hotels, activity operators and airlines have hurricane plans in place because of Iniki. If anything, know that the tourism industry and our travel specialists here at Hawaii Aloha Travel are looking out for our visitors. We want you to be safe and be prepared. The best thing you can do is stay in contact with us and keep an eye on the National Weather Service in Hawaii. Be ready to take directions and evacuate if necessary.

In all my years of weathercasting, I don’t think I have ever seen 2 storms approach the islands from the East as Iselle and Julio are. It’s time to batten down the hatches, stock up on necessities and keep a close eye on those watches and warnings. I will be doing that right along with you and I will be updating both of our Facebook pages as we move forward.