Hurricane Iselle remains a Category 2 storm packing 105 mph winds Tuesday as it continues its westward trek toward the Hawaiian Islands.
Iselle is located some 965 miles east-southeast of Hilo, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. The storm is moving west-northwest at 9 mph. Iselle is expected to weaken over the next couple of days and reach the Big Island as a tropical storm some time Thursday afternoon.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rain, high surf and strong winds to the Big Island beginning as early as Wednesday night and continuing through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Surf is expected to steadily increase along the Big Island’s windward coast as the storm approaches. Surf heights of 10 to 20 feet are expected Wednesday ahead of Iselle, with larger surf possible Wednesday night and Thursday.
The combination of the high surf with high tides in Hilo Bay, as well as other areas, could cause coastal flooding along low-lying areas, the service cautioned. A 2.5-foot high tide is forecast at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday for Hilo Bay. On Thursday, the bay will see a 2.75-foot high tide at 1:20 p.m.
Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecast models currently indicate a 52 percent chance of tropical storm force winds affecting Hilo, a 46 percent chance of tropical storm force winds in Kailua-Kona and a 39 percent chance of tropical storm force winds affecting South Point between Thursday afternoon and Friday. Tropical storm force winds — also referred to as damaging winds — range between 39 and 73 mph.
The models also show a 5 percent chance of hurricane force winds — wind speeds of 74 mph or greater — for Hilo and a 3 percent chance of hurricane force winds in Kailua-Kona during that same time frame. There is a 3 percent chance of hurricane force winds for South Point.
After Iselle passes the Big Island, another system, Tropical Storm Julio, is expected to arrive on Sunday. The storm, as of 2 p.m. Tuesday was located 1,210 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula and was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, according to forecasters. The storm, which was moving west at 13 mph, is expected to become a hurricane on Wednesday.
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