HONOLULU — Tropical Storm Iselle pummeled Hawaii's Big Island with high winds and torrential rains, triggering flooding in some areas Friday.
Iselle became the first tropical storm in 22 years to hit Hawaii, moving ashore about 5 miles east of Pahala at 2:30 a.m. local time Friday with winds of 60 mph. So far, no deaths or major injuries have been reported.
Hours before its landfall, the National Weather Service downgraded Iselle from a hurricane as rain, strong winds and high surf lashed the eastern edge of the state. Though heavy rain and wind continued on the eastern shore of the island of Oahu, the sky was beginning to clear. A flash flood advisory was lifted.
Traffic was light on Oahu's windward coast but pockets of heavy rain and debris on the roads made driving hazardous. At the H-1 freeway, a tree toppled onto the road, blocking two lanes of traffic.
The islands are facing another threat this weekend as Hurricane Julio, a Category 3 storm, is about 900 miles behind Iselle in the Pacific. However, that storm is expected to skirt north of all the Hawaiian islands Sunday morning.
The extent of Iselle's damage to the Big Island has been limited to downed trees and some roof damage, according to John Drummond of Hawaii County Civil Defense, who said about 21,000 homes are without power.
Forecasters predicted heavy rains with totals of 5 to 8 inches, and up to 12 inches in some spots, along Iselle's track, according to the National Weather Service.
Heavy rain and wind were hitting the islands of Maui and Oahu on Friday, but the full effects of the storm had yet to come.
A flood advisory was issued for the eastern shore of Oahu, and Honolulu was experiencing moderately high gusts of wind and rain showers. There have also been reports of downed trees and power outages in some communities.
"This storm turned out to be not that bad," said Tara Villarreal, who just moved to Hawaii on Thursday, as she strolled down empty Waikiki Beach at 6 a.m. in Honolulu, about 200 miles northwest of Pahala. "My friends in Texas were kidding me that I brought the bad weather with me when I moved here."
Hawaii has been directly hit by hurricanes only three times since 1950. The last time that a hurricane or tropical storm hit was in 1992, when Hurricane Iniki killed six people and destroyed more than 1,400 homes in Kauai.
"People are totally freaked out about this hurricane, which is now a tropical storm," said Reggie Windham, an employee at Round Table Pizza near Waikiki Beach. "They are being overcautious because of what happened during Hurricane Iniki."
Contributing: Associated Press