HONOLULU, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Hawaiians scrambled to buy generators and Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared an emergency, as Tropical Storm Ana headed for the Big Island.
Forecasters predicted Ana would hit the island of Hawaii late Friday. Early Thursday morning, the storm was 500 miles southeast of Hilo on the Big Island and 705 miles southeast of Honolulu on Oahu, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said.
The storm was moving at 10 mph with winds of up to 60 mph.
The storm appears almost certain to be the second tropical cyclone to hit Hawaii in three months. Iselle caused major problems on Hawaii in August.
Chris Brenchley of the National Weather Service predicted that Ana would do more damage than Iselle on the islands west of Hawaii in the chain.
The governor declared an emergency Wednesday. All public schools on the Big Island will be closed Friday.
"While it's a beautiful day today, I think by Saturday we're not going to be seeing this kind of weather, unless we are really lucky," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Officials warned power could be out in some areas for as long as a week. The manager of one Home Depot store said all its generators were sold by Tuesday.
In the Kawa Flats area of Hawaii, ranchers and other residents worried about flooding.
"When it floods, basically, we're pretty much stranded. There's no way of getting out of the Ka'u district. We're basically stuck here," Michael Andrade told KITV. "Quite a few years back, bridges got washed out. Hopefully, it won't happen with this hurricane here."