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Posted: Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 10:48 AM HST

Hawaii, Maui counties schools to close for storms

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii's Department of Education has decided to close schools on the Big Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai ahead of two hurricanes headed to the islands.

The department says all public schools in Hawaii and Maui counties will be closed on Thursday. All other public schools will remain open and continue regular school schedules.

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi says the force of the storms remains uncertain but the department doesn't want to wait until the last minute to close schools.

Officials expect Hurricane Iselle to hit the Big Island and Maui County on Thursday. Hurricane Julio is expected to strengthen slowly over the next day and a half or so.

About a dozen Big Island schools designated as emergency shelters will close at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, canceling afterschool activities.

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