Hurricane Iselle Gains Strength as it Nears Hawaii


HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is preparing for what could be the first hurricane to hit the state in more than 20 years as weather officials say an approaching storm isn’t weakening as previously predicted.

Hurricane Iselle was expected to weaken into a tropical storm before reaching Hawaii’s Big Island Thursday. But weather officials now say it has intensified and is forecast to maintain hurricane strength or become a strong tropical storm as it approaches the island.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rains, high surf and damaging winds.

A second hurricane is following closely behind. Hurricane Julio is expected to slowly strengthen and pass north of the Big Island sometime over the weekend.

The approaching storms are prompting officials to close schools, residents to stock up on supplies and tourists to change travel plans.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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