Hawaii Volcanoes National Park prepares for Iselle

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park prepares for Iselle

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Partial Closures at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park as Hurricane Iselle Nears

Hawaii National Park, Hawai'i – To keep visitors and employees safe as Hurricane Iselle approaches the Hawaiian Islands, park officials will close all backcountry areas and certain roads in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, effective 6 p.m. this evening. Kilauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum will close at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Thurs., Aug. 8, 2014.

Park closures are as follows:

- Chain of Craters Road, from Devastation Trail parking lot to the coast

- All backcountry areas, including Mauna Loa and cabins

- Mauna Loa Road (known locally as "Mauna Loa Strip Road")

- All coastal areas and trails, including, 'Apua Point, Keauhou, Halape, and Ka'aha

- Kulanaokuaiki campsite

- Napau campsite

- Namakanipaio campgrounds and the A-frame cabins

- Kilauea Visitor Center closes at 1 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 7

- Jaggar Museum closes at 1 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 7

Closures will remain in effect until Hurricane Iselle has passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer, and any damage is assessed. Volcano House and Kilauea Military Camp will remain open for registered guests.

"Although we aren't closing Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park in its entirety, we strongly encourage visitors to consider changing their plans if they were planning to visit Thursday or Friday," said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. "We will offer our regularly scheduled programs and guided hikes from the Kilauea Visitor Center until 11 a.m. on Thursday," she said.

Visitors can check the park website, www.nps.gov/havo, for the latest information on openings, or call 808-985-6000.

The National Weather Service issued a Hurricane Warning for Hawai'i Island Wednesday morning, and a flash flood watch for all islands. Forecasters predict extremely heavy rains, flash floods, high surf, and strong, damaging winds. For updates on Hurricane Iselle, go to http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/.

For Civil Defense updates for the County of Hawai'i, and the location of local shelters, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.