A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Big Island ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Iselle. Iselle is expected to hit the Big Island as a tropical storm on Thursday.
Hurricane Iselle remains a Category 2 storm packing 110 mph winds, with higher gusts. The storm is located some 985 miles east-southeast of Hilo, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. Iselle is moving west at 9 mph as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Iselle is expected to weaken over the next couple of days and reach the Big Island as a tropical storm some time after 5 p.m. Thursday. Tropical storm force winds — also referred to as damaging winds — range between 39 and 73 mph.
Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecast models currently indicate a 50 percent chance of tropical storm force winds affecting Hilo, a 44 percent chance of tropical storm force winds in Kailua-Kona and a 42 percent chance of tropical storm force winds affecting South Point between Thursday afternoon and Friday. The models also show a 4 percent chance of hurricane force winds — wind speeds of 74 mph or greater — for Kailua-Kona and Hilo during that same time frame. There is a 2 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 Saturday or Sunday. The storm, as of 11 a.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.
A tropical storm watch is issued when tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible somewhere within the specified area within 48 hours.