Hawaii braces for first hurricane in decades

Shoppers are stocking up on supplies as they prepare for what could be the first hurricane to hit the state in more than 20 years. Weather officials said Wednesday an approaching storm appears to have strengthened and will likely maintain its speed as it heads toward the islands.

Hurricane Iselle loomed about 600 miles east, spinning at about 85 mph. It previously had been expected to weaken significantly before reaching land. The storm is expected to lash the Big Island today with damaging winds, heavy rains and high surf. It’s on track to remain hurricane-strength or weaken only to a strong tropical storm. Hurricane Julio, meanwhile, swirled closely behind at about 75 mph. Forecasters expect it to pass north of the Big Island this weekend.

The last time Hawaii was hit with a tropical storm or hurricane was in 1992.

— From wire reports

The Associated Press Shoppers stock up on cases of bottled water and other supplies Thursday at a Honolulu Costco in preparation for a pair of tropical storm systems heading toward Hawaii.
NOAA / The Associated Press Hurricane Iselle, center, and Tropical Storm Julio, right, head for Hawaii in this NOAA photo taken Wednesday. Though it’s not clear how damaging the storms could be, many in Hawaii aren’t taking any chances.