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Hawaii tropical storm largely won’t hurt election

  • COURTESY NOAA / NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
    This composite satellite image taken Monday morning shows Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio to the east of Iselle in the Eastern Pacific.
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A tropical storm expected to bring heavy rain and wind to Hawaii this week shouldn’t significantly affect the state’s primary election based on current weather forecasts.

Hurricane Iselle is expected to weaken into a tropical storm before it first hits the Big Island on Thursday afternoon, Acting Director Tom Evans of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Monday.

The storm is expected to pass Kauai early Saturday, before sunrise.

“Of course there is uncertainty, but as to what it’s doing now, this is what we expect,” Evans said.

Hawaii’s primary election is on Saturday, with several marquee races including Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate, governor and a U.S. House seat covering urban Honolulu.

Leslie Door, and insurance underwriter in Honolulu, said she voted early Monday because of the coming storm.

“I wanted to make sure if the weather got bad I could still get here,” said Door, 45. “Hopefully it doesn’t affect voter turnout.”

Early voting ends Thursday, with polls closing at sites on the Big Island as late as 4 p.m.

Evans said the storm is likely to bring heavy rains, flooding and winds of 40 mph to 50 mph. Weather officials will likely issue a tropical storm watch Tuesday, 48 hours before the storm is expected to make landfall.

As of 5 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time Monday, Iselle was more than 1,200 miles east of Hilo, moving toward the islands at 10 mph with sustained wind gusts up to 140 mph, according to a National Hurricane Center advisory.

Evans said the system should weaken because of wind shear and cooler water temperatures as it heads closer to Hawaii.

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