Hawaii braces for one-two punch from pair of hurricanes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hawaii braces for one-two punch from pair of hurricanes

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HAWAII COUNTY, HI.- Thursday afternoon the rain began falling and the winds began to pick up as Hurricane Iselle zeroed in on the big island of Hawaii. The outer bands of the storm reached the island and brought with it win gusts as fast as 65 mph. The governor of Hawaii signed an emergency declaration Wednesday, in anticipation of the storms. It gives the government access to the state's disaster funds.

Hurricane Iselle is expected to bring winds of 75 mph, 12 inches of rain, big storm surges, flash floods and mudslides. Right behind Iselle is Hurricane Julio, a category three storm. Forecasters say the already weakened island could crumble under the one-two punch.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the easternmost populated island, Hawaii, with some of the state's other islands -- Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe -- bracing for tropical storm conditions. By Thursday, the shelves of many supermarkets were bare; school and government offices were closed; and sandbags abounded.

Direct hits are rare for Hawaii. Since the 1950s only two hurricanes have hit directly. Hawaii's most damaging hurricane in recent years came in 1992, in the form of Hurricane Iniki. Four people were killed and it caused about $2 billion in damage.

On Saturday Hawaii is scheduled to have a primary election. Many politicians are opening complaining that the storm will affect voter turnout, but right now it's set to go on as scheduled. For those with flights to Hawaii in the next few days, you're being asked to contact your airline to change the ticket.

 

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