Hawaii residents depleted stores’ water bottle inventories, hoarded toilet paper and in many cases stayed home from work as they braced themselves for Hurricane Iselle, which was expected to sweep through the islands Thursday and Friday and even threatened to suspend Saturday’s primary election.

But by Friday afternoon — perhaps even that morning — it was clear that Iselle was hardly going to wreak the havoc many had feared, its storm center missing all islands except the Big Island. By then, the state had cleared its tropical storm advisories for all islands, and all counties except Kauai had issued an “all clear.”

“We are in a position to say we’ve pulled through,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said at a Friday press conference, thanking the public and counties for their collaboration. “Everything is going according to the plan we have.”

Police and firefighters prepare to cut and remove fallen tree on Pali Highway after high winds from Tropical Storm Islelle hit the windward side of Oahu on August 8, 2014

Police and firefighters prepare to cut and remove fallen tree on Pali Highway after high winds from Tropical Storm Islelle hit the windward side of Oahu on Friday.

Cory Lum

And that means Saturday is Election Day, although the state did decide late Friday afternoon to postpone voting at two polling places:  Hawaii Paradise Community Center and Keoneopoko Elementary School, both in Puna. Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago explained that the damage to some roadways left the town isolated.

Meanwhile, Julio continued to advance toward the state as a Category 2 hurricane Friday afternoon with winds of about 100 mph. It was expected to be near the Big Island on Sunday evening.

State and county officials warned residents on Friday not to forget about Julio now that Iselle has passed through.

Iselle did bring heavy rains, high surf and strong winds, including gusts intense enough to topple trees, knock down power lines and rip off roofs — mostly on the Big Island. Officials on Friday continued to urge residents to stay indoors and out of the ocean.

A high surf advisory remains in effect for east-facing shores on the Big Island, Maui, Molokai and Oahu through Monday. The surf is projected at 6 to 10 feet.

The only significant damage on Oahu, according to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, was at a home in Alewa Heights where the roof blew off. On the Big Island, the weather caused flooding, property damage and a power outage affecting more than 20,000 people at its peak. In Maui some 8,000 residents remained without power Friday evening.

Caldwell reverted city buses back to their normal operations Friday evening. Regular trash pickup resumes Saturday morning, he said.

“This is when government really matters,” he said, reminding residents to vote Saturday. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

See below to read Civil Beat’s live blog of the storm, including contributed comments and photos from our readers. Click on any photo to see a larger version, and click left or right to view the gallery.

Live Blog LIVE BLOG: Tropical Storm Iselle in Hawaii
 

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