Tsunami Warning Cancelled Brings Sigh of Relief for Hawaii

Yesterday’s tsunami warning was triggered after one of world’s largest earthquakes. The 8.8 earthquake was in Chile around the same location of a 9.5 earthquake in 1960 which sent a tsunami to Hawaii devastating Hilo on the Big Island. Hawaii was under a Tsunami watch Friday evening after the quake and was soon upgraded to a warning shortly after midnight. The first waves were scheduled to arrive in Hilo at 11:19am and hit Honolulu later at 11:45am. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center provided excellent information and preparations for the approaching waves. Tsunami Warning Sirens sounded throughout all the islands multiple times during the morning, urging people to evacuate low lying costal areas. Those staying in high-rises had a vertical evacuation to the third floors and higher. Waikiki turned into a ghost town with the streets closed and beaches empty. Residents and visitors alike waited anxiously for the approaching tsunami traveling at over 500 mph (the speed of an airliner) uninterrupted towards the islands. Local supermarkets and gas stations filled with people scrambling to get last minute preparations for approaching tsunami. Everyone cooperated with one another and truly showed the “Aloha Spirit.” Fortunately for everyone on the islands the tsunami’s impact was minimal. Hilo Bay saw the first sign of a tsunami when bay waters began receding and then shortly after surge back into the bay. The small surge continued for a couple hours throughout the islands. Waikiki saw the sea level rise by a couple feet and then recede. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled the warning around 1:30 pm. Luckily there were no damages or lives lost reported in Hawaii. We can all learn from this warning and be more prepared in the future. Here at Discover Hawaii Tours we cancelled all of our tours for the day and were kept busy happily rescheduling our guests’ tours and assisting them with their reservations. Thankfully the tsunami wasn’t as big as predicted. Our thoughts and prayers are with those dealing with the devastating earthquake in Chile.

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