Iselle Expected To Hit Big Island This Afternoon
Hurricane Iselle continued on its unwelcome path toward the Big Island today, prompting the early closure of nearly all non-essential government operations and businesses today and continuing through tomorrow.
At 11 a.m. the Weather Service reported that the hurricane was 195 miles east-southeast of Hilo with sustained hurricane force winds of 75 mph, moving west-northwest at a speed of 16 mph, keeping it on course for a direct collision with Hawaii Island.
Hawaii Island residents can expect the weather to steadily deteriorate this afternoon, with tropical storm conditions expected to arrive well before dark, NWS said.
Hurricane conditions are expected for portions of the Big Island tonight as the center of the storm is forecast to move directly over the southern portion of the island.
Areas of concern for initial high surf impact include Punaluu in the Kau area, Kalapana, Phoiki, Kapoho in the Puna area, and Keaukaha in Hilo.
Rainfall totals of 5 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts to 12 inches, are expected along the track of Iselle. The rains could cause life-threatening flash floods as well as rock and mud slides, the NWS said.
Swells generated by Iselle will continue to rise along east facing shores. Very large, damaging surf is expected along some east and south shores starting today.
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters, which could reach one to three feet above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide, the NWS said.
The highest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore flow. The surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves. Surge related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.
All residents are encouraged to remain off the roadways and to anticipate possible power outages and interruptions in telephone and other communication systems. Everyone is advised to complete all necessary preparations by noon today.
The Department of Education reports that all Hawaii Island Schools will be closed today and tomorrow Friday Aug. 8. The following facilities will be opened for evacuation shelters by noon today:
— Laupahoehoe School
— Kohala High & Elementary
— Kealakehe High
— Konawaena High
— Hilo High
— Waiakea High
— Keaau High
— Pahoa High & Intermediate
— Honokaa High & Intermediate
— Kau High
— Waikoloa Elementary
In addition, all beach parks will be closed and will remain closed until conditions improve and it is safe to reopen.
All county and state government offices will be closed for general business operations at noon today and remain closed through tomorrow, Friday Aug. 8. Emergency operations will be maintained and all non-essential employees will be instructed to remain home.
Post Offices Closing At Noon
The US Postal Service management is closing all 28 postal facilities on the island of Hawaii by noon today. Until noon, Big Island offices will make their best effort to deliver mail, post mail to PO Boxes and open their retail lobbies, a Postal Service release said.
Postal Service management will make additional decisions regarding adjustments to postal operations on other islands as needed.
Hilo Ports Closed
Due to rough seas and current, the Young Brothers Barge that was expected to arrive in Hilo late Wednesday evening did not arrive as scheduled. The Coast Guard closed the Port of Hilo at 4 a.m. on Thursday.
The barge has headed north of the Big Island to ride out the storm. An attempt to enter the port will be made on Friday afternoon once the storm has passed and clearance has been received by port authorities. Young Brothers gates are presently closed and will be closed on Friday.
The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will close all public schools and DOE offices statewide on Friday, Aug. 8. All public charter schools will also be closed in anticipation of severe weather. Additionally, all inter-scholastic athletic events and student activities are canceled until schools reopen.
County Landfills, Transfer Stations
Closed through Friday. Further updates to announce reopening.