Tropical Storm Iselle touched down in Hawaii Friday morning, reaching the eastern shore of the Big Island and becoming the first tropical storm to hit the state in over two decades.
The storm moved ashore about 5 miles east of Pahala at 2:30 a.m. local time Friday with winds of 60 mph. So far, no deaths or major injuries have been reported.
The last time a hurricane hit the state was in 1992, when Iniki veered past the Big Island and pummeled Kauai, killing six people and destroying 1,400 homes.
The islands are facing another threat this weekend as Hurricane Julio, a Category 3 storm, is about 900 miles behind Iselle in the Pacific. However, that storm is expected to skirt north of all the Hawaiian Islands Sunday morning. Julio was 1,060 miles east of Hilo and moving at 16 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
As residents prepared for the possible one-two punch, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Big island but didn’t cause major damage or injuries.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state is prepared for the back-to-back storms, noting the National Guard is at the ready and state and local governments were closing offices, schools and transit services across Hawaii.
Abercrombie said that federal emergency management officials had briefed President Barack Obama about Iselle.
State Attorney General David Louie promised that Saturday’s primary elections, including congressional and gubernatorial races, would go forward as planned.
The storms are rare but not unexpected in El Niņo years, a change in ocean temperature that affects weather around the world.
Ahead of this year’s hurricane season, weather officials warned the wide swath of the Pacific Ocean that includes Hawaii could see four to seven tropical storms this year.
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