Hawaii storms: 4.5-magnitude quake hits as residents prepare for 1st hurricane in 22 years

This image provided by NOAA taken Wednesday Aug. 6, 2014 shows Hurricane Iselle, center, and tropical storm Julio, right. Though it's not clear how damaging the storms could be, many in Hawaii aren't taking any chances as they wait for Hurricane Iselle to make landfall later this week and Tropical Storm Julio potentially hitting a few days later.
This image provided by NOAA taken Wednesday Aug. 6, 2014 shows Hurricane Iselle, center, and tropical storm Julio, right. Though it's not clear how damaging the storms could be, many in Hawaii aren't taking any chances as they wait for Hurricane Iselle to make landfall later this week and Tropical Storm Julio potentially hitting a few days later. /AP

10:21 a.m.: 4.5-magnitude quake strikes Hawaii

A 4.5-magnitude earthquake struck the big island of Hawaii early Thursday as residents were preparing for the first of two hurricanes threatening to make landfall.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake struck at 6:24 a.m. local time about 7 miles west-northwest of Waimea at a depth of 9.7 miles.

Two hurricanes are bearing down on the islands. Hurricane Iselle would be the first to hit Hawaii in 22 years, NPR reports. Tropical Storm Julio was not far behind and was recently upgraded to the level of hurricane.

The Associated Press reports that there were no immediate reports of damage.

9:04 a.m.: Flights canceled as Hawaii to take first direct hurricane hit in 22 years

At the moment, Hawaii is forecast to receive a direct hit from a hurricane for the first time in 22 years.

As NPR reported, Hurricane Iselle was expected to weaken into a tropical storm before it raked the Big Island, but hasn't happened. The system still had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph as of Thursday morning.

All of Hawaii County is under a hurricane warning, and some of the other islands are under tropical storm warnings and watches.

The Associated Press reported that Island Air, a Hawaii inter-island commuter airline, has canceled flights on Thursday serving Maui and Lanai, but flights serving Kauai will continue. The airline is suspending all operations Friday, but said a regular flight schedule is expected to resume Saturday.

The Associated Press reported that authorities say the island is ready, but they are still urging residents to take this seriously and prepare. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported:

Andrea Geron and her family had their bags packed and ready Wednesday morning if and when authorities give the word to evacuate their Edgewater Drive home on the ocean at Iroquois Point.

"The totes are just inside the door, ready to grab and go," she said.

Geron, looking at some modest waves lapping up on the beach next to her home, said she wasn't really nervous about the storm. She said that's a function of paying attention to authorities, using caution and being prepared.

She said her husband was coming home from work early Wednesday to help move lanai furniture and other outdoor items inside.

"As long as you're prepared and listen to the warnings, you'll be OK," she said, adding that the family with two girls, a baby and a dog is ready, if necessary, to head to the pet-friendly public shelter at Campbell High School in Ewa Beach.

And as if one hurricane wasn't enough, another one — Hurricane Julio — was right behind Iselle. The bad news: By early morning local time Thursday, Julio had strengthened into a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds at 100 mph. (Hawaii is six hours behind East Coast time.)

The good news? The National Hurricane Center puts Julio northeast of Hawaii by 11 p.m. local time Saturday. If this track holds, the islands will likely miss the brunt of that storm.

Hawaii should begin to feel the impact of Iselle later tonight. According to forecasters, the hurricane will bring strong winds — 60 to 70 mph — and 5 to 8 inches of rain.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

 

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