Hawaii Braces For Rare Tropical Storm Double Whammy

Hawaii residents are bracing for two major tropical storms. The state is used to preparing for storms, but it rarely gets hit.

Hawaii Braces For Rare Tropical Storm Double Whammy

The Hawaiian islands could be hit by not one, but two serious tropical storms this week — surprisingly, something residents aren't all that used to. (Via NASA)

Check out this satellite image released Tuesday by NASA. It shows Category 2 Hurricane Iselle heading straight for Hawaii, and not too far behind it is Tropical Storm Julio.

According to the latest information from the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, as of Wednesday morning, Hurricane Iselle is expected to reach the easternmost Hawaiian islands by Thursday afternoon.

And forecasts predict Julio will be on her tail. (Via NASA)

"Julio will probably be getting close to where Iselle is currently. Again, we're looking at probably Julio getting closer to Hawaiian islands later on the weekend, probably on Sunday." (Via KHON)

Now, Hawaii is no stranger to preparing for tropical storms. They're very common in the Pacific Ocean waters surrounding the islands. But actually getting hit by this incoming double whammy could mean big trouble for Hawaii.

The Weather Channel's lead meteorologist Kevin Roth told NBC it is "unprecedented" to see two storms of this strength hit an area within days of each other: "In 75 years of reliable data you only have one case where they were even 10 days apart."

Hawaii has been directly hit by hurricanes only three times since 1950. And the last time the region was seriously damaged by a tropical storm or hurricane was in 1992, when Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai. (Via Discovery)

It's unclear exactly how much damage Iselle and Julio could cause. But as KGMB points out, many in Hawaii aren't taking any chances, rushing to stock up on necessities like batteries, toilet paper and food.

Both tropical storm and flash flood watches have been issued for multiple locations, including Maui and the Big Island, according to The Weather Channel.

So how has Hawaii managed to escape most dangerous tropical weather in the past? It is a warm region and in the Pacific Ocean, after all — a seemingly perfect recipe for hurricanes.

A tropical weather expert for The Weather Channel says it's all thanks to the wind.


"The Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trough rules the high levels of our weather atmosphere there and creates winds typically too fast for development of a hurricane and too fast for an approaching hurricane from the east to remain a hurricane. That is why quite a few remnant tropical circulations go by south, north, or occasionally through the islands, but rarely does a tropical storm or hurricane [reach them]."

The incoming storms prompted officials to close public schools on several islands Thursday as a precaution. To get the most up-to-date information, click on the link in our transcript for the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center website.