Hawaii tsunami warning canceled; no damage seen in Islands
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center canceled the tsunami warning for Hawaii at 1:38 p.m. today. There were no immediate reports of damage and beaches were relatively calm as the tsunami caused only minor changes in ocean levels.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is continuing to monitor wave activity for the next few hours, but says the danger has passed.
The leading edge of the tsunami was projected to arrive in Hilo shortly after 11 a.m. and deliver an 8-foot surge.
The first visual evidence of the tsunami were seen in Hilo Bay shortly after 11:30 a.m.
Video shown on Hawaii News Now showed water receding, leaving rocks exposed around Coconut Island.
At about 11:45, signs of an incoming surge were seen as water began to fill in exposed areas and strong surface ripples could be seen.
It wasn’t violent or destructive, but it still was a dramatic view.
In Hilo, hundreds of residents gathered on streets in higher areas.
Police had closed streets leading into Hilo, and the waterfront looked like a ghost town.
“I hope I have one home after this,” said Gordon Feliciano, 52, as he waited for the waves outside the inundation zone.
Hundreds lined the streets in the area, and many had gathered before dawn.
Pamela Sue Porter, of Kalapana, got to the area around 6 a.m.
“I am concerned,” she said.
Similar scenes were played on Maui and Oahu. By the time the tsunami reached Kauai, the waves were about a foot in height.
Waves reaching heights of 1 meter reached Kahului Harbor, while waves just under 1 meter reached Hilo.
Scientists at the tsunami warning center said a bump was noticed along Kawaihae in West Hawaii and Kalaeloa on Oahu.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who was in Washington, D.C., was informed of the tsunami threat last night and ordered the Honolulu Emergency Operating Center activated and fully staffed to coordinate city emergency preparation and response activities. He received regular updates until his return to Honolulu shortly after 5 p.m.
"I'm very proud of our police officers, firefighters, emergency management personnel, lifeguards, bus workers and the many others who worked long and hard today to prevent a potential tragedy," Hannemann said in a press release issued tonight.
Honolulu Fire Department officials began their preparations overnight and by 6 a.m. had deployed companies throughout O'ahu to warn residents of the impending danger and promote relocation to higher ground.
Emergency Medical Services and Ocean Safety personnel resumed normal operations shortly after 2 p.m. when beaches were reopened. Only Hanauma Bay remained closed.