Hawaii loads up on supplies as two major storms loom

JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER AUDREY McAVOY Associated Press Published:

HONOLULU (AP) -- When a pallet full of bottled water ran out at a Honolulu warehouse store Tuesday, shoppers loading up on supplies ahead of a hurricane and tropical storm barreling toward Hawaii hovered around until a worker refilled it. Then, it quickly emptied again.

"Days like today, in a situation like this, we just throw open the doors and hold on for the ride," said Scott Ankrom, assistant general manager of the Costco. The busy store near downtown has had to continually restock water and sold as much of it on Monday as it sold all last week, he said. People also stocked up on paper towels, toilet paper, baby supplies and rice.

Two big storms so close together is rare in the central Pacific, and Hurricane Iselle could make landfall by Thursday and Tropical Storm Julio could hit three days later, officials said.

It's unclear how damaging the storms could be, but people throughout the islands weren't taking any chances. "Two storms in a row? It's like, hello," Judy Castillo of Oahu said, pushing a cart with two cases of water and other items from a drug store to her car.

A hurricane last hit Hawaii in 1992, and before that, in 1982.

"The central Pacific doesn't see nearly the activity that the Atlantic sees," said James Franklin, chief of hurricane specialists for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

In preparation, some people in Hawaii are making sure to vote early in the primary elections, which are Saturday. It includes several marquee races including primaries for U.S. Senate, governor and a U.S. House seat covering urban Honolulu.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell plans to return two days early from a trip to Japan.

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Associated Press Writers Doug Esser in Seattle and Oskar Garcia in Honolulu contributed to this report.

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