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First tropical storm in 22 years hits Hawaii

Associated Press Updated: August 8, 2014 at 9:46 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — This is what Associated Press reporters on the scene are learning as the first tropical storm in 22 years hit Hawaii:

3:42 p.m. HST

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell gives Oahu "the all-clear" after Tropical Storm Iselle passes, allowing city services like buses and trash pickup to resume.

"People were seeing nice weather, and they were going about their business anyway," he said.

3:26 p.m. HST

Shortly after canceling a tropical storm warning for the Big Island, the National Weather Service canceled similar alerts for Maui and Oahu. Kauai is the only county where a warning remains.

3:08 p.m. HST

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has canceled its tropical storm warning for the Big Island. Tropical Storm Iselle has passed and is about 120 miles southwest of Honolulu. Similar warnings are still in effect for Honolulu, Maui and Kauai counties.

2:40 p.m. HST

Commuter airline Island Air says it plans to resume its interisland flights Saturday, with flights from Honolulu to Lanai, Maui and Kauai taking off starting at 6 a.m. HST.

1:57 p.m. HST

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa says, "For the most part, we were spared a direct impact, and we're very, very grateful." He reports that the island got 10 to 15 inches of rain in some areas and tree and power lines toppled, but electricity has been restored after isolated outages. Arakawa says there are no injuries.

1:57 p.m. HST

Stephani Voge, of the Fairmont Orchid resort on the northwest coast of the Big Island, says guests are taking the storm in stride: "They just trusted that we put everybody's safety first." She says there are no reports of damage to the property and little rain as the mountains in the area provided a barrier.

12:35 p.m. HST

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell tweets that Tropical Storm Iselle is now as close to Oahu as it will be.

12:35 p.m. HST

Tourists and residents have ventured out to Oahu's south shore to see the surf.

Army Sgt. Steven Reyes and his mother went for a drive because his home on a central Oahu Army base lost power. He says that "we've never seen the water crash into the rocks the way they are. It's just beautiful."

12:35 p.m. HST

Sylvia Dahlby of Hilo on the Big Island says roofs in her neighborhood have remained intact and a nearby waterfall is loudly flowing with runoff — audible from 10 blocks away. She says residents are being asked to help with downed trees and debris.

12:35 p.m. HST

The National Park Service says it is hoping to reopen Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island on Saturday. Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando says its highways and roads were still not safe, with fallen trees and power lines, flash flooding, and power and phones down.

11:48 a.m. HST

The National Weather Service has extended the flash flood warning for the Big Island until 2:30 p.m. HST and the flood advisory for Oahu until 2:15 p.m. HST. Oahu emergency managers urge residents to stay off the streets.

11:01 a.m. HST

The National Weather Service says a flash flood warning is in effect for the Big Island until 11:30 a.m. HST. A flood advisory for Oahu has been extended until 11:15 a.m. HST.

10:55 a.m. HST

State Attorney General David Louie laughs when asked about voter turnout in Hawaii's primary elections Saturday, saying he can't make any predictions. Congressional and gubernatorial primary races will be decided between two storms. There are 17 shelters at polling places statewide.

10:55 a.m. HST

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says no major injuries have been reported, urging residents to "stay safe, stay sensible."

He stresses that even though brunt of storm went over the Big Island and Maui, Kauai and Oahu need to remain vigilant.

10:18 a.m. HST

The National Weather Service reports the highest rainfall total over a 24-hour period ending at 8 a.m. HST Friday was 14.51 inches in Kulani on the Big Island.

10:18 a.m. HST

The National Park Service says its memorial sites at Pearl Harbor will stay closed through Saturday as park staff assess the condition of the park and its facilities and keep an eye on Hurricane Julio.

10:18 a.m. HST

The state Department of Health is issuing a brown-water advisory for all of Hawaii, warning the public to stay out of floodwaters and storm water runoff. Health officials warn that runoff is known to attract sharks because of possible dead animals being washed into the ocean.

9:47 a.m. HST

The Wailuku River on the Big Island is looking less like a calm stream and more like whitewater rapids. Live TV footage of the river that flows to the ocean shows runoff quickly ripping through the stream.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the river averaged 2-4 feet earlier this week but was as high as 17 feet Friday.

9:47 a.m. HST

Honolulu's lifeguard division says about a dozen surfers are riding waves at surf spot nicknamed "Suicides," near the popular Diamond Head crater. Lifeguards on Oahu are planning to only respond to emergency calls and not do regular patrols.

9:47 a.m. HST

The National Weather Service says a flood advisory is in effect until 10:30 a.m. for Oahu as heavy rain fell in parts of the island.

8:42 a.m. HST

Hawaii News Now reports that Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned: "You shouldn't be doing business today. You should be staying home and taking care of each other."

8:40 a.m. HST

Maui County says Hana Highway at milepost 26 near Nahiku is now open. Water is limited in the Upper Kula area as crews work to restore power to a water treatment plant. Area customers are being asked to conserve water.

8:30 a.m. HST

Some tourists are out in the windy weather. Sharon Zappa, visiting from Florida, says, "I went through Hurricane Andrew, so this is nothing."

8 a.m. HST

More than 21,000 homes still have no electricity as of 7 a.m. HST. The Big Island's electric utility has major transmission lines not functioning because two major power plants are offline. Hawaii County spokesman Kevin Dayton says that's causing a shortage of electricity being delivered to the grid.

8 a.m. HST

Hawaii County spokesman Kevin Dayton says those staying in Big Island shelters are being told to return home. But four shelters will remain open. He also says crews are still trying to clear closures on major roads, mostly from knocked-down trees.

7:30 a.m. HST

Kau coffee farmers are trying to navigate flooded roads and fallen trees to assess whether there's any damage to their crops.

Randy Stevens, general manager of Kau Coffee Mill, says, "It's raining so hard we're just trying to get the roads opened up so we can get to the fields."

The heavy rain in the southeastern Kau district is a vast difference from the relatively drier Kona region, where coffee is also grown.

6:50 a.m. HST

Maui County spokesman Ryan Piros said Hana Highway at milepost 26 near Nahiku on Maui is closed due to six trees about 3 to 4 feet in diameter across the roadway. Power lines are down in the area.

6:45 a.m. HST

Washington state couple Tracy Black and Chris Kreifels expected the storms to dampen their outdoor wedding, planned for Saturday on the northwest side of the Big Island. But on Friday morning, things were quiet and dry in Waimea, Black said, giving her hope for their ceremony on a ranch.

Only one of their mainland guests decided not to make the trip to Hawaii.

6:30 a.m. HST

Kona coffee farmer Bruce Corker said "We're all buttoned up, but nothing happened. I'm looking out the window right now and there's light rain coming down and zero wind." There was no rain until about 5:30 a.m.

6:00 a.m. HST

It's starting to look like a normal, albeit rainy and windy, morning in Honolulu. A jogger made his way along Ala Moana Boulevard and a man carrying an umbrella walked a small dog in the light rain.

5:00 a.m. HST

The driving rain against Amanda Schaefer's windows kept her up in Haiku, on Maui's north shore.

"We are getting some strong gusts," she said. "It's still so dark."

She's listening to a ham radio but hasn't heard of any reports of significant damage or injuries.

3:43 a.m. HST

The National Weather Service says the eye of Tropical Storm Iselle has made landfall on Hawaii's Big Island.

It is the first hurricane or tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years, and another hurricane is following in its path. Hurricane Julio, a Category 3 storm, is about 1,000 miles behind in the Pacific.

Iselle's eye swept onto shore about 5 miles east of Pahala with winds at 60 mph at 2:30 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time.

3:20 a.m. HST

John Drummond of Hawaii County Civil Defense gives an update on the geothermal plant that released hydrogen sulfide in the Puna area. Residents were told to go to a Pahoa shelter if they were feeling effects from the smell. He said, "I'm not sure if anyone actually went."

Drummond said so far the extent of damage across the Big Island has been limited to downed trees and some roof damage. There were reports of trees on homes, but no 911 calls were made asking for help with those tree.

3 a.m.

In a Honolulu neighborhood at the edge of Waikiki, winds are howling, a sign that the storm's outer bands are affecting the entire island chain.

2:45 a.m. HST

Kimo Makuakane and his family waited up all night for Iselle to hit the Big Island. While the rest of his family slept early Friday, Makuakane continued to wait for the storm to make landfall. He said from his Hilo home, "Lots of rain, very windy here." No one is out on the streets. He can hear the trees rustling and roofs rattling.

2 a.m. HST

Maui County spokesman Ryan Piros was up in the mayor's office in Wailuku, listening to a mostly quiet police scanner. He says it's raining outside and the wind is cranking.

1:54 a.m. HST

Tropical Storm Iselle weakened further early Friday as it clamored toward the Hawaii shore. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the system's maximum sustained winds slowed from 70 mph to 60 mph. Iselle is expected to weaken further over the coming two days.

12 a.m. HST

The National Weather Service issues a flash-flood warning for the Big Island.

11:31 p.m. HST

Maui County officials say about 2,700 customers lost power in parts of Pukalani, an inland town roughly 10 miles from Maui's main airport. Power was restored for another 120 customers who lost electricity because of wind debris hitting power lines.

11:05 p.m. HST

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Brenchley says Tropical Storm Iselle is about 30 miles from hitting Hawaii's Big Island, traveling about 10 mph. The storm's center is expected to hit south of Hilo.

10:50 p.m. HST

The National Weather Service downgrades Iselle from a hurricane to a tropical storm, saying the system has sustained winds of 70 mph as its eye approaches the Big Island about 50 miles east of Hilo.

9:45 p.m. HST

National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Lau says Hurricane Iselle is about 55 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, traveling toward the Big Island at 15 mph and slowing down.

9:15 p.m. HST

The Polynesian Cultural Center, a popular tourist attraction near Oahu's north shore, announces it will be closed Friday because of the storm.

9:05 p.m. HST

On Maui, power to a water treatment plant went out, prompting county officials to ask Kula residents in the middle of the island to conserve water.

8:20 p.m. HST

A geothermal plant on the Big Island released an unknown amount of steam containing hydrogen sulfide, a smelly, poisonous compound. Crews were working to control the release and monitor the emissions, while nearby residents were urged to evacuate if they experience discomfort, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi's office said.

8:14 p.m. HST

Oahu plans to run shuttle service to evacuation centers from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m., Honolulu's Department of Emergency Management said.

6:49 p.m. HST

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says President Barack Obama has been briefed on Hurricane Iselle, according to Abercrombie's official Twitter account.

5:57 p.m. HST

Hurricane Julio has strengthened into a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. The National Hurricane Center said Thursday evening it expects the storm to slowly weaken by Friday night.

Julio is more than 1,000 miles behind Hurricane Iselle, which is expected to make landfall on the Big Island overnight.

5:17 p.m. HST

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say power is out in two communities on the Big Island, including Waimea, a town of about 9,200 people near the island's north shore, and Puna, a district scattered with residents south of Hilo.

An evacuation shelter in Pahoa with at least 140 evacuees also lost power. Electrical crews are working to restore power, but there's no estimate of when it would come back online.

4:15 p.m. HST

Passengers at the Honolulu International Airport spilled out to the curb Thursday, and lines wrapped around the TSA screening area as people tried to leave before the storm hit.

After high winds hit Maui, California couple Rudy Cruz and Ashley Dochnahl left the island earlier than planned, getting to Oahu but failing to secure a flight back home.

"We were trying to beat it, but we now will have to ride it out," Cruz said.

4:15 p.m. HST

The Hawaii National Guard sent the bulk of its aircraft to bases on the West Coast on Thursday morning so they wouldn't be damaged by the storm. Lt. Col. Charles Anthony says tankers can bring back people and supplies to deal with damage if needed.

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