Hawaii was braced for its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years Thursday as Iselle headed towards the Big Island with no sign of weakening.
Bottled water and supplies were in high demand at stores ahead of the Category 1 storm's expected impact on Thursday night. "It's a fairly potent hurricane by Hawaiian standards," Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth said.
Heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding were expected, but Iselle was expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it hits Honolulu at about 9 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Friday. Tropical storm warnings were issued for Oahu, Kauai, and Maui and a flash flood warning was in effect for the entire island chain.
A second system, Hurricane Julio, remained on course to hit Hawaii on Sunday night. It was upgraded to a Category 2 early Thursday, but Roth said it was still expected to weaken to a tropical storm before making landfall. Hawaii has been hit by hurricanes only three times since 1950, the last being deadly Iniki in 1992.
—By Alastair Jamieson, NBC News