Julio weakens, unlikely to threaten Big Island
As the Big Island empties out its boots and crews clear roads and restore power, Hurricane Julio now appears to not be a threat to the Big Island.
Julio was a Category 1 hurricane packing 90 mph winds maintaining its track toward the island chain at 16 mph as of 5 p.m. Saturday. The system was located 365 miles east of Hilo.
Julio is predicted to be a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds when it draws into the vicinity of Hawaii Island Sunday. The current track takes the system to the north of the state, and it will likely transition to a tropical storm as it passes, forecaster Eric Lau said. It’s still too early to determine the cyclone’s path with accuracy. Even if the storm continues to weaken and passes to the north, as predicted, the width of the system is significant enough to have impacts on the island chain, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Cantin.
“Don’t run back to the store and return supplies,” said Cantin at a press conference Friday morning as Iselle worked its way west of the Big Island. “Right now we don’t expect much, but if there’s a shift in the track we could see some effects.”
Rivers and streams on the Big Island are still high and some locations are saturated, so any additional rainfall from Julio could quickly create flood issues, Cantin said.
The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will begin to fly through Julio Saturday and take the first in-storm measurements of the cyclone, said Master Sgt. Brian Lamar, spokesman for the squadron.
Julio had hurricane force winds extending outward 35 miles Saturday morning. Tropical storm force winds had a radius of 165 miles from the hurricane’s center.