HONOLULU – Residents of Hawaii's Big Island are bracing for what could be the first hurricane to make landfall in the state in decades.
Hurricane Madeline, now a major Category 3 storm, is expected to weaken but likely to remain a hurricane as it passes the state, said meteorologist Chevy Chevalier of the National Weather Service on Tuesday.
Forecasters are expecting Madeline to pass just south of the Big Island around 2 a.m. Thursday. But if the storm track shifts slightly to the north, it could hit land.
Chevalier says the last hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki in 1992, which hit Kauai Island.
A second Pacific hurricane, called Lester, is still far from Hawaii, and it is expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it passes the state, Chevalier said.
Hawaii County, which covers the Big Island, urged residents to restock their emergency kits with a flashlight, fresh batteries, cash and first aid supplies.
The county recommended that residents create evacuation plans and secure outdoor furniture.
Hawaiian Airlines said customers holding tickets to or from Hawaii's Big Island from Aug. 31 until Sept. 1 would be allowed a one-time reservation change without incurring a fee.