DENVER (CBS4) – It’s not every year that a hurricane threatens to make landfall in Hawaii, and it’s even more rare for two storms back-to-back to threaten the island paradise.
Typically, by the time a hurricane reaches Hawaii, it has weakened, either into a tropical storm, a depression and just a remnant area of low pressure.
In addition to Iselle and Julio, there is a third hurricane named Genevieve, well to the west of Hawaii.
“This is the first time that we have seen three hurricanes at the same time between 130-180W longitude, so yes, it’s very unusual,” said Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Research Scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, specializing in Tropical Meteorology.
“However, there have been times in the past where Hawaii has been impacted by several tropical cyclones during the same month. July 1994 would be the most recent example when three tropical cyclones or their remnants impacted Hawaii.”
At 12 p.m. mountain time on Thursday, August 7, Hurricane Iselle was about 255 miles east-southeast of Hilo, moving to the west-northwest at 17 mph.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, making it a category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.
The storm is expected to weaken slightly over the next 24 hours, but could still be a hurricane as it approaches the Big Island of Hawaii later tonight.
Right behind Iselle is Hurricane Julio.
At 12 p.m. mountain time on Thursday, August 7, Hurricane Julio was about 1,230 miles east of Hilo, moving to the west at 17 mph.
It had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and was a Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.
On it’s current path, the storm is expected to parallel Hawaii’s eastern shores, but come close enough to potentially bring squalls of heavy rain and wind over the weekend.
HAWAII HURRICANE HISTORY
The last tropical system to impact Hawaii was Tropical Storm Flossie in July 2013.
The last hurricane to hit Hawaii was Hurricane Neki in July 2009. The storm caused minor damage in the northwest islands.
The last close call for the Big Island of Hawaii was Hurricane Flossie in August 2007. The storm passed within 100 miles of land and brought tropical storm force winds and heavy rain.
The strongest hurricane to ever hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki on September 11, 1992. The storm caused over $1 billion dollars in damage and six deaths. It made landfall as a category 4 and destroyed over 1,400 homes and damaged 5,000 others.
The eye passed directly over Kauai.