Hawaii was hit today by an earthquake as the 50th state prepares for a possible one-two hurricane punch.
WJLA reports a 4.5-magnitude earthquake struck the Big Island but didn’t cause major damage. There were no reports of injuries as residents made last-minute trips to grocery stores and boarded up their homes.
Kelsey Walker said the quake felt like a “little jolt” but didn’t knock things off shelves at the Waimea grocery store where he works.
The Epoch Times website reports the quake struck near Waimea, Kailua-Kona, Hilo, and it was about 159 miles from Honolulu, the US Geological Survey said. The temblor hit at a depth of 7.9 miles. The earthquake hit the north tip of the island, around 7 miles from Waimea at 6:24 a.m. local time. The U.S. Geological Survey initially announced the quake was magnitude-4.3 and quickly bumped it up to a 4.5. Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said there were no reports of damage done during the quake. He said that a quake of that size is “not uncommon” for Hawaii, reported The Associated Press.
As if the state wasn’t already preoccupied, the earthquake hit just as preparations for incoming Hurricane Iselle began. When asked about the current state of events, Kelsey Walker said, “We have a hurricane. Now we have this on top of it. What else?”
Hurricane Iselle is expected to pass over the Big Island of Hawaii, one of the least populated islands, known for its coffee fields, volcanoes and black sand beaches, sending rain and high winds to the other islands on Friday, then skirt south of the other islands. Iselle, already losing some energy, is expected to hit as a Category 1 hurricane (74-95 MPH) or as a tropical storm. Though the system is weakening, Eric Lau of the Weather Service said ” We’re primarily urging residents to still take proper precautions to prepare themselves to keep everyone safe.”
Closely following Iselle is Hurricane Julio, following Iselle’s path but about 1,000 miles behind. Julio has sustained winds of 105 miles an hour, making it a Category 2 hurricane. Julio is projected to travel just north of the islands sometime Sunday morning.
Hawaii has been hit by hurricanes three times since 1950. The last time Hawaii was hit with a hurricane or tropical storm was in 1992, when Hurricane Iniki killed six people and destroyed more than 1,400 homes in Kauai, Lau said.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state is prepared for the back-to-back storms, noting the National Guard is at the ready and state and local governments were closing offices, schools and transit services across Hawaii. Emergency shelters also opening. State Attorney General David Louie promised that Saturday’s primary elections, including congressional and gubernatorial races, will go forward as planned.