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Archive for February 27th, 2010

Hawai’i Tsunami Warning [Update 4]

Hey folks,

New event for me while living in Maui.  We heard the tsunami warning sirens this morning.  Definitely not the monthly test.  There are waves coming from the huge 8.8 earthquake from Chile. 

Maui is not under any evacuations orders.  They are just running the sirens to keep people on alert and telling folks near the coasts to be on the watch.  The local news is showing long lines at all the gas stations.  Some gas stations are starting to turn people away.  And they are evacuating (voluntary) people from coastal areas to shelters.

The first waves are supposed to hit the Big Island around 11:05 a.m. our time (we are currently 2 hours behind west coast time).  I think Tahiti got something like a six-foot wave.  I think it will just be a swell – honestly, probably smaller than the huge waves we had on the beach when my mom was here.  Of course, tsunamis are not nice waves – just a large push of water.  The local news is telling people to stay out of the water. 

Guy from the Tsunami Warning Center is now saying Hilo may get a one-meter wave.  Soooo….I think we’ll be fine.  Our house would be fine even with a huge wave since we are on higher ground.  However, I think we may force our house guest to stay put today since traffic may suck at different places around the island.  You pretty much cannot drive anywhere in Maui without at least driving partway on a coastal highway.  Our local news says they are getting messages from people around the world worried about friends and family in Hawai’i.  Local news coverage is streaming online at www.hawaiinewsnow.com 

Aloha.

UPDATE

The first waves are about 20 minutes out from Maui.  Several areas have been evacuated and most of the roads are closed now.  We are watching the live news coverage as the first waves are about 8 minutes out from the Big Island.  We’ve been asked to stock up on water.  Our power generation and wastewater treatment plant are at sea level so they are worried about sewage washing out. 

UPDATE 2

Live cams from the Big Island are posted on the local news coverage.  Not much happening yet.  Helicopter just swooped down to an idiot in the water on Oahu to yell at him to get out of the water.  Here on Maui, there is a line of cars near our home as people are driving up from lower areas.  Our biggest towns on Maui are at sea level.  The airport at Kahului is still open.  A couple of our neighbors are on their roofs, but I don’t think we’ll be able to see anything from here.  

Update 3 (12:01 p.m.)  

We are watching the live cam from Hilo Bay on the Big Island.  The most dramatic parts are when the water gets sucked out of the day.  Beach areas and rocks are exposed for a couple of minutes.  Then, the water comes back over.  The surge coming in doesn’t look that big.  Someone calling in from Kahului Harbor here on Maui says the water is getting sucked out but, again, I don’t think the incoming waves are big at all.  Not noticeably different than normal waves. I think our biggest wave will be 6 feet.

UPDATE 4 (1:30 p.m.)

Well folks, looks like the worst of the tsunami event is over.  The cars have returned to their homes.  The uninterrupted news coverage is off the air.  The first official measurements show that Kahului had the biggest wave surge at……..wait for it…….wow……..3.2 feet.  Yup.  That was our tsunami.  3.2 feet.  I am happy to say that the ocean was kind to us today and I am happy to know that all of our early-warning systems work well.  Some people may grumble about being evacuated today but you know what? They would complain louder if they stayed home and were swamped with a giant wall of water.  So, good job Hawai’i.

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