Iselle the latest in ‘fairly active’ storm season for Hawaii

Iselle could cause trouble in more ways than one — it could hit the islands on the eve of the primary election, which could affect voter turnout.

It may seem that we’re having more than our share of close calls when it comes to tropical storms this season, and that’s due to the warm oceanic phase known as El Nino.

“It’s been a fairly active season thus far,” said Matt Foster of the National Weather Service. “We’ve had numerous tropical cyclones spin up.”

First, a refresher course in meteorology. A tropical storm can have winds from 39 to 73 mph, strong enough to cause plenty of damage. A hurricane, in comparison, has winds of 74 mph and above.

Hawaii residents have had plenty of experience with both tropical storms and hurricanes. But Hawaii Emergency Management Agency officials say you should be prepared in either case.

“For us, a tropical storm is nothing to sneeze at,” said agency spokeswoman Shelley Kunishige. “We’ve had high wind events where we’ve seen power poles fall and block communities, and we’re urging people to take this seriously.”

She said the agency is preparing for the arrival of a potential tropical storm by “hosting a coordination call on Monday, and that’s when we’re going to gather all the agencies that have responsibility for hurricane response or recovery, and we’re going to talk about how we can best leverage our resources.”

Kunishige also recommends Hawaii residents “review your hurricane plan and your hurricane kit, making sure all your contact information is still valid. … Just make sure that you have that seven days of food and water and that you’re prepared for your pets, if you have dogs and cats, because they can’t prepare for themselves.”

And stay with KHON2 on air and online for the latest on Iselle as it tracks west towards the islands.

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