Hawaii hit by earthquake as islands wait for 2 hurricanes

Schools were ordered to close Friday in much of Hawaii as hurricanes approach from the west and the east.

By Frances Burns

HONOLULU, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- A light earthquake rattled Hawaii's Big Island as the state hunkered down Thursday with two hurricanes approaching.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured 4.5 on the Richter scale, severe enough to rattle buildings and possibly knock items to the floor but unlikely to cause any significant damage or injuries. It was centered about 7 miles west-northwest of Waimea, a major town on the Big Island of Hawaii.


In the meantime, Hurricane Iselle was approaching Hawaii from the west and Julio from the east. The storms will be the first hurricanes to hit Hawaii in more than 20 years.

Iselle was 255 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 460 miles east-southeast of Honolulu. The storm, packing winds of 80 mph at the center, was headed towards Hawaii at 17 mph.

While Iselle was expected to make itself felt Thursday and Friday, Hurricane Julio was forecast to hit Hawaii during the weekend. Julio was 1,235 miles east of Hilo and moving west at 17 mph.

The National Hurricane Center said Julio's maximum sustained winds were 105 mph.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared a state of emergency for Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Schools are to be closed Friday and may be converted to emergency shelters if needed.

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