Hawaii braced for what could become the first hurricane to slam the state in nearly a quarter-century early Friday after islanders scrambled to stock up on supplies and take shelter. The outer edges of Hurricane Iselle, a Category 1 storm, brought rain and wind to the Big Island as it approached landfall. A second Category 3 storm, Julio, was close on Iselle's tail with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. It was projected to barrel just north of the islands early Sunday morning.
At a news conference Thursday, state officials told islanders to hunker down. Governor Neil Abercrombie said that emergency crews and response teams were “fully prepared” for heavy rains, fierce winds and flash floods. He said the National Guard was at the ready and shelters were open across the state. Transportation officials pleaded with drivers to stay off roads. Power was lost Thursday night in two communities on the Big Island: Waimea, a town of about 9,200 people near the island's north shore, and Puna, a district scattered with residents south of Hilo, Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said. American Airlines and US Airways canceled flights in and out of the Big Island and Maui after 6 p.m. Thursday through noon Friday. Iselle is poised to become the first hurricane to thump Hawaii since Hurricane Iniki made landfall in 1992. The state has been directly hit by hurricanes only three times since 1950.
— Daniel Arkin
The Associated Press contributed to this report.