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David Fell of the Waimanalo section of Honolulu stands with a generator, bottled water and other supplies as he stocks up Tuesday at a Costco store in anticipation of two big storms moving toward Hawaii. / Mike Tsukamoto, USA TODAY

Hawaii residents stocked up on essentials Tuesday and prepared for nature's onslaught as a double-barreled threat of hurricane and tropical storm takes aim at the islands.

"We're all dusting off our hurricane plans and securing the facility, loose objects, and working through what we need to do, just in case,'' says Scott Pawlowski, the National Park Service's chief of cultural and natural resources at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor.

Weather forecasters said the first storm, Hurricane Iselle, was expected to weaken but was continuing on its track to bring heavy rains, high surf and winds by Thursday, with landfall likely Friday. The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm watch for the island of Hawaii and a flash flood watch for all of the islands of the state.

The storms threatened to disrupt voting Saturday in state primary elections, including races for U.S. Senate, House and governor.

The center of Iselle was about 985 miles east of Hilo, on the island of Hawaii, and moving northwest at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds nearing 110 mph. Behind it, Tropical Storm Julio also was on track toward Hawaii and forecast to arrive two or three days later.

Two big storms so close together in the Pacific are rare but not unexpected with a developing El Niño, a change in ocean temperature that affects global weather, said James Franklin, chief hurricane specialist with the National Weather Service.

"This is a very powerful storm, very well put together," Weather Channel meteorologist Ari Sarsalari said. "So it looks like the double whammy for Hawaii.''

On Oahu, home to Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, residents and tourists were making a run on water, canned food and other supplies - a familiar ritual for locals accustomed to the risks of living on remote islands in the Pacific.

"I have been through two hurricanes and a dock strike, and it's better to be prepared than not," David Fell of Waimanalo, a section of Honolulu, said.

"You really can't tell what's going to happen. According to local legend, hurricanes never hit the Big Island, but we'll see. It might be a first," said Fell. "If it bypasses the Big Island and tracks off Oahu, things could get pretty interesting around here really quick."

Shelly Kunshige, spokeswoman for the state emergency management agency, said officials on the island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island, were developing evacuation plans. The island, home to about 185,000 people, is the state's easternmost, and Iselle is tracking right at it. Most of the state's residents are on the island of Oahu.

"We are taking it day by day," Kunshige said. "We will have to decide if it's necessary to close schools to set up evacuation shelters."

Radji Tolentino, 44, a real estate agent in Oahu, says he will stock up on bottled water and secure patio furniture.

"Having seen Superstorm Sandy and some other serious storms, we know these storms can be very damaging," he said. "We will be prepared."

Chris Pruett of Waikiki was anticipating a silver lining in that big storms bring surfers to the islands: "It tends to generate good waves,'' he told the Associated Press.

Contributing: Mike Tsukamoto in Honolulu; John Bacon in McLean, Va.??



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Hawaii braces for storm double whammy

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