Hurricane watch issued as storm nears Hawaii's Big Island

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Visitors hike onto a lava flow from Kilauea, an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, in Volcanoes National Park near Kalapana, Hawaii.

Visitors hike onto a lava flow from Kilauea, an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, in Volcanoes National Park near Kalapana, Hawaii. (Photo: AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

HONOLULU (AP) — The Central Pacific Hurricane Center on Monday issued a hurricane watch for the Big Island of Hawaii as Hurricane Madeline closed in on the island.

The storm should be near or over the Big Island by Wednesday, said forecaster Derek Wroe.

Madeline was a Category 3 hurricane at midday Monday. Forecasters said it may strengthen over the next 12 to 24 hours but would likely weaken Tuesday because of upper atmosphere conditions.

The Center's advisory on Madeline said Big Island residents could experience hurricane force winds, heavy rain and high surf on Wednesday.

Madeline was 630 miles east of Hilo on Monday and moving west northwest at 10 mph.

The hurricane had sustained winds near 115 mph.

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.

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