UPDATE: ‘Hilo Will Be the Center of the Storm’
by Nate Gaddis
Updated 10:15 pm on Aug. 7, 2014 to reflect revised evacuee estimates and latest forecasts.
“Over the next six hours, we’ll see the wind, rain and storm surges … Hilo will be the center of the storm,” said mayor Billy Kenoi by phone Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 7 from Civil Defense headquarters on Hawai`i Island.
UPDATE: The Latest Forecast
At 8:21 p.m., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an updated forecast for the Big Island of Hawaii, which showed Hurricane Iselle located approximately 70 miles southeast of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph.
NOAA officials expected the center of the storm to move over the Big Island “during the next few hours.”
As of 8:21 p.m., gusts in excess of 70 mph were already present within the storm system, and winds on the Big Island were expected to reach 60 to 70 mph overnight, with gusts as high as 85 mph.
Life-threatening flash-floods are possible, as rainfall is expected to reach 5 to 8 inches, with isolated rainfall up to 12 inches in some areas. A flood advisory is in place for Hawai`i County until at least 12:30 a.m. Aug. 8.
Wave conditions are expected to worsen considerably in coming hours, with surf expected to reach 15 to 25 feet along windward shores.
UPDATE: Emergency Shelters Housing Thousands
As of 9 p.m., Big Island emergency shelters reported the following headcounts:
-Waiakea High School: 295 + 9 pets
-Hilo High School: 130
-Pahoa High School: 219
-Keeau High School: 309
-Ka`u High School: 19
-Laupahoehoe H.S.: 8
-Honoka`a H.S.: 41
-Konawaena H.S.: 43
-Kohala H.S.: 9
-Kealakehe H.S.: 160
-Waikoloa Elm: 15
UPDATE: Road Closures
As of 5 p.m., the following roads were closed on Hawai`i Island:
-Highway 259 (Kohala Mountain road)
-Waiaku Bridge to Haw
-Highway 132 from Nanawale to Lava Tree Park (detour through Leilani).
As of 6:21 p.m., the Volcano Highway had been re-opened after being closed for several hours due to fallen trees.
At 8:58 p.m., HPD reported one lane of Kalanianaole Avenue had also been closed off due to fallen trees.
The next forecast update from NOAA is expected to be released at approximately 12:30 a.m. Hawai`i Standard Time.