Honolulu, HI, United States (4E) – Panicky Hawaii residents are stocking up on bottled water, toilet paper and canned goods since Tuesday as Hurricane Iselle is expected to directly hit the island Thursday to Friday.
Costco stores in Honolulu ran out of supplies Tuesday and are rushing to restock shelves. With the unusually high number of shoppers, Costco stores took only two days to sell what they usually sell for a week.
Shoppers are storming other stores, which also sold out flashlights, propane and generators emptying their warehouses and prompting managers to order more from suppliers.
Forecasters have issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Hawaii’s Big Island and Tropical Storm Watch from Maui to Oahu. They warned that Iselle could cause flash floods, mudslides, a storm surge up to several feet and winds of up to 60 mph starting Thursday night.
Hurricane Julio, which has a similar path as Iselle, is forecast to hit the state 36 hours after the latter passes.
Iselle has sustained winds of 45 mph to 55 mph with gusts up to 65 mph, according to National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Eric Lau. But Lau said Iselle could tear apart and weaken when it landfalls and hit the high mountains of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. A direct hit on the mountains, however, has never occurred yet, he said.
Lau said it is also possible that impacting the mountains will not weaken the tropical storm.
Meanwhile, Julio, which is a couple of days behind Iselle, has sustained winds near 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Local officials have said Julio may follow in the footsteps of Iselle and weaken into a tropical storm.
But the state’s Emergency Management Administrator, Doug Mayne, said residents and visitors must prepare themselves and their homes and businesses for emergency, high winds and flooding. He also said they should have survival kits to last for a week.