Categorized | Featured, News, Tsunami

Hawaii’s tsunami warning – updating through the night

5:45 p.m. Friday

Some remarkable footage of the tsunami surge in Kailua-Kona Friday (March 11)

4:50 p.m. Friday

Tsunami Message Number 16
NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Ewa Beach Hi
1126 am HST Fri Mar 11 2011

To – Civil Defense in the state of Hawaii
Subject – Final tsunami advisory

The tsunami advisory is ended for the state of Hawaii effective at 1126 am HST.

An earthquake has occurred with these preliminary parameters

Origin Time – 0746 Pm HST 10 Mar 2011
Coordinates – 38.3 North 142.4 East
Location – Near East Coast of Honshu Japan
Magnitude – 8.9 Moment


Tsunami wave heights across the state of hawaii are now below advisory levels and are continuing to diminish. based on all available data the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is now cancelling the tsunami advisory. Smaller sea level changes and strong or unusual currents may persist for several additional hours and appropriate caution should be exercised by boaters and swimmers.

This will be the final message issued for this event unless additional data are received.

12:35 p.m. Friday

Now that most of the danger seems to have passed, Hawaii 24/7 is taking a break.

Baron and I desperately need to eat and nap.

We will be back in a couple hours. We trust you will be, too …

– Karin Stanton and Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

12:20 p.m. Friday

Great. Now it’s raining in Kona. That may make things in town even more soggy, but also may wash away some of the debris, sand, silt and mud that is clogging the oceanfront.

Report from Kona Brewers Festival: Big cheers! The Kona Brewers Festival is on! We are pulling the details together and will make an announcement later this afternoon.

Report from the Coast Guard: Crews are evaluating tsunami damage through the Hawaiian islands and Guam.

On the Big Island, USCG crews found:

* Reports of damage and debris scattered around port.
* Civil Air Patrol are conducting aerial assessment.

11:20 a.m. Friday

Report from King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel: For at least the next three days, we are anticipating a need to move guests to another area hotel. If you booked your stay directly with the hotel by calling or through the hotel website, we will be contacting you to arrange for alternate accommodations. If you made your reservation through a tour company or Expedia, please contact them to determine where you will be relocated.

Report from Kona Commons: All Kona Commons merchants are open!

Kailua Pier. (Photo courtesy of Kona Boys)

(Photo courtesy of Kona Boys)

10:40 a.m. Friday

Police are now reporting Alii Drive from Kamehameha III Road to Walua Road in Kailua-Kona is now open to north and south bound traffic.

Evacuation order cancelled for Ka’u, Puna, Hilo, Hamakua, N & S Kohala. Evac order for Kona still in effect due to damaged roads. Repairs in progress

Report from Kailua Village Business Improvement District: “We know there is damage on Alii Drive, some areas more than others. Until we receive the all clear from county officials to enter Kailua Village, we cannot assess the extent of the damage. What is important at this time is for everyone to follow all safety precautions and heed safety warnings. We appreciate how everyone wants to pitch in and help, let’s wait and see how we can best be of service. As our businesses begin to re-open in Historic Kailua Village, the best way to support our community is to remember to buy locally.”

Report from Mauna Lani Bay Hotel: The all clear was given by officials and we are transporting our guests back to the hotel so they can continue enjoying their vacation.

Report from Kona Boys, Inc.: Everyone is safe and the Beach Shack survived. The hotel is a mess and we will all have to rebuild together. Mahalo for the support.

10 a.m. Friday

Hawaii County Civil Defense 9:30 a.m. Audio Message

9:20 a.m. Friday

Report from Hulihee Palace: The grounds are completely flooded, the makai side of kip pond wall is completely gone, and the cottage is completely flooded. We don’t know yet about the Palace.

Report from Keauhou Beach Resort: General Manager Paul Horner would like to let you all know that our hotel has survived and every single guest and employee are safe. We have not returned to the hotel, but will do so when given the “all clear” by Civil Defense. Prayers to all those who have loved ones and friends in Japan.

Report from Four Seasons Resort Hualalai: As a result of storm surge from the tsunami, we sustained some debris-related damage to public areas. We are relocating guests while we ensure the grounds are safe for occupancy and enjoyment. Guests are safe and accounted for, and being given rooming options at our properties on Maui and Lanai and other Hawaii Island hotels. We are assessing damage to determine the number of days the Resort will be closed.

8:45 a.m. Friday

Report from Mayor Billy Kenoi:

Crews still securing coastline areas while assessing damage. Residents not yet allowed back into evacuation zone.
Lots of debris washed over Alii Drive.
Numerous homes in Keauhou damaged.
One home south of Kona was swept completely into the ocean.
No reports of injures.

Despite the reports of damage, Kenoi said, “considering what could have happened, we are appreciate. We still feel pretty lucky.”

Police Department Advisory Messages

8:34 a.m. Friday— Alii Drive from Keauhou Bay to Kailua Town remains closed due to debris on the roadway. County crews are currently removing debris from the roadway.

8:12 a.m. Friday — Highway 11 in Ka‘u has been reopened. Ninoole Loop Road, Punaluu Beach and Whittington Beach Park remain closed.

8:17 a.m. Friday

NOAA plot of the Japan earthquake's energy.

NOAA plot of the Japan earthquake's energy.

8 a.m. Friday

Civil Defense Message:

This is a tsunami update for Friday morning at 7:30. The tsunami warning for Hawaii County has been downgraded to a tsunami advisory. Large destructive tsunami waves are no longer expected. However, an evacuation order remains in effect for Hawaii island. Extensive damage has been reported in Kailua-Kona and communities south. Damage assessments are required to determine what areas are safe to return to. Residents are advised to stay away from coastal areas. All beaches are closed, surges and unusual tides are expected throughout the day.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie:

“The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has downgraded the tsunami warning to an advisory for the state of Hawaii. Please continue to exercise caution – stay out of the waterways and shoreline areas. Tidal activity around our islands remains unpredictable.

“Our government agencies worked diligently and collaboratively throughout the night and into the morning to ensure the safety and comfort of our residents.

“Although we were fortunate that a more destructive tsunami did not materialize, I can assure everyone that our agencies and officials are well-prepared to respond to emergencies of this nature.

“I want to thank our residents who live in inundation zones who heeded the directions of our first responders and civil defense agencies. I also appreciate the hard work of everyone involved in the disaster-preparedness effort.

“As we assess the extent of the damage here in Hawaii, our hearts go out to the people of Japan who have suffered and continue to suffer immeasurable loss as a result of this major earthquake, tsunami, and aftershocks. As one island people to another, we stand with them in solidarity and in sympathy for the challenges they face.

“During the upcoming hours, county agencies will assess their respective districts. State agencies will continue to work with the counties in this effort.”

Report from King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel: All guests were safely evacuated from the hotel. The restaurant and lobby areas have been damaged by water.

The Japan 8.9 earthquake now ranks as the fifth largest in the world since 1900 and scientists say it was nearly 8,000 times stronger than one last month in Christchurch, New Zealand.

7:45 a.m. Friday

Hawaii downgraded to a tsunami advisory. People are still not being allowed into coastal areas due to ocean surges.

Hawaii County Civil Defense 7:30 a.m. Audio Update

7:12 a.m. Friday

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Kevin Dayton, Executive Assistant to the Mayor of the County of Hawaii talks about tsunami damage on the Big Island. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

7 a.m. Friday

Unconfirmed reports there might be damage to Hulihee Palace on Alii Drive.

Mayor Billy Kenoi is in Washington, D.C. this week and was monitoring the tsunami situation with Sen. Daniel Inoye.

(Photo courtesy of Senator Daniel K. Inouye's Office)

Hawaiian Airlines Update

Hawaiian Airlines has no reports of damage to any of the airports it serves, however its service to Lihue, Kahului and Hilo has been suspended pending the reopening of passenger terminals at these airports.

The company expects to resume flight operations to these airports as soon as their terminals are open. All other Hawaiian Airlines flights are operating as scheduled Friday.

Customers ticketed for travel on Hawaiian wholly within the State of Hawaii on March 11, 2011 will be allowed to change travel date or flight without fee or charge for any difference in fare for same class of service, provided travel is completed by March 18, 2011.

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 457 landed at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport at 9:50 p.m. Tokyo time.

Hawaiian’s Flight 458 from Haneda to Honolulu, scheduled to depart at 11:59 p.m. March 12 Tokyo time, has been delayed due to ground transportation challenges in getting flight crews to the airport.

The flight’s new departure time is 9 a.m. March 13 Tokyo time.

Hawaiian is allowing customers who are ticketed to travel on its flights between Hawaii or the mainland U.S. and Haneda International Airport on or before March 18, 2011 to change their date of travel to any date through April 30, 2011 without any change fee or charge for difference in fare for same class of service.

Hawaiian Flight 466 from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Honolulu departed at 10:21 p.m. local time March 10 and arrived at 5:58 a.m. Friday.

Hawaiian Flight 17 from Las Vegas to Honolulu departed at 1:49 a.m. local time and is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu at 6:21 a.m.

Hawaiian is posting updates on its home page at

Customers are encouraged to check the status of their flights by going to “Manage” from the home page and clicking on “Flight Status.”

6:30 a.m. Friday

Report from Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bunglaows: “We did evacuate the hotel and all our guests and associates are safe. We are adhering to instructions from Hawaii County Civil Defense and will continue to take every precaution to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests.”

Latest message from county Civil Defense Agency:

This is a tsunami update for Friday morning at 5:30. An evacuation order remains in effect for Hawaii. Damaging waves have been reported in Kailua-Kona. We continue to monitor ocean conditions. For your information all Hawaii County offices and facilities will be closed today. This includes all Parks and Recreation facilities not used as evacuation centers and all beaches. Bus services will run on a limited schedule, please call 961-8556 for more information. Again, an evacuation order remains in effect. All Hawaii County offices and facilities will be closed today. This includes all Parks and Recreation facilities not used as evacuation centers and all beaches. Bus services will run on a limited schedule, please call 961-8556 for more information. Stay tuned to a radio station for updates. Thank you.

Hualalai Academy in Kona also closed Friday.

Heavy aftershocks in Japan:

5:55 a.m. Friday

Gov. Neil Abercrombie: “We are seeing significant adverse activity on Maui and Big Island. By no means are we clear. We are not taking any chances in this state.”

Report from Big Island Mayor’s Executive Assistant Kevin Dayton:

No serious damage reported, but some unusual wave action at Keauhou Pier and fronting Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and The Fairmont Orchid.

At least 1 foot of water in King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel lobby.

Tables and chairs scattered along Alii Drive.

Hele-On bus running on regular schedule.

Report from Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa:

Coastal flooding on Maui as unusual wave action continues.

Water, sewer systems shut down. Power plant closed.

State and county officials are warning people to stay away from the shoreline, as it’s still not safe and still really unpredictable.

5:40 a.m. Friday

About 150 people spent the night at the new West Hawaii Civic Center. They sacked out inside, outside in tents and in cars in the parking lot.

Reports that Kahului Harbor facilities may have suffered some damage, but that won’t be confirmed until at least daybreak.

US Coast Guard preparing to begin dawn fly-overs to check for damage.

Gerard Fryer said water may have washed a couple hundred feet inland around some of the state’s harbors. He also reported a monitor at Napoopoo in South Kona indicated water reached 100 feet inland and a height of 11 feet.

Fryer: “I think it’s as bad as it’s going to get. We’re still seeing these big variations – 10 feet or more at Kahului and at Hilo, a little less.”

Scientists have counted about five or six separate waves, which are coming in about 20 minute intervals, Fryer said.

“Level of danger along the shoreline is still very high,” he said. “It ain’t time yet to go back home.”

Hawaiian Airlines flights to and from Hilo have been suspended until further notice.

Tsunami warnings remain in effect for:


5:10 a.m. Friday

All Hawaii County official offices and agencies will be closed Friday, including all Parks and Recreation facilities. All beaches closed today. Limited bus service call 961-8556 for info

Still no reports of damage from anywhere across Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines interisland flights delayed this morning while airport workers report for duty.

 GAUGE LOCATION        LAT   LON    TIME        AMPL         PER
 MANUS PG              2.0S 147.4E  1206Z   0.47M /  1.6FT  60MIN
 LOMBRUM MANUS IS PG   2.0S 147.4E  1205Z   0.49M /  1.6FT  60MIN
 BETIO TARAWA KI       1.4N 172.9E  1225Z   0.21M /  0.7FT  24MIN
 NAURU                 0.5S 166.9E  1156Z   0.20M /  0.7FT  24MIN
 NAWILIWILI KAUAI     22.0N 159.4W  1343Z   0.76M /  2.5FT  12MIN
 HILO HAWAII          19.7N 155.1W  1342Z   1.04M /  3.4FT  60MIN
 KAWAIHAE HAWAII      20.0N 155.8W  1333Z   0.92M /  3.0FT  52MIN
 DART 51407           19.6N 156.5W  1337Z   0.15M /  0.5FT  14MIN
 KAHULUI MAUI         20.9N 156.5W  1327Z   1.74M /  5.7FT  52MIN
 KAUMALAPAU HAWAII    20.8N 156.9W  1340Z   0.31M /  1.0FT  12MIN
 HONOLULU OAHU        21.3N 157.9W  1314Z   0.66M /  2.2FT  52MIN
 BARBERS PT HI        21.3N 158.1W  1308Z   0.70M /  2.3FT  64MIN
 TERN FR. FRIGATE US  23.9N 166.3W  1224Z   0.38M /  1.2FT  16MIN
 JOHNSTON US          16.7N 169.5W  1206Z   0.20M /  0.7FT  72MIN
 DART 52402           11.7N 154.2E  0931Z   0.29M /  0.9FT  22MIN
 DART 46403           52.7N 156.9W  1127Z   0.09M /  0.3FT  60MIN
 LEGASPI PH           13.1N 123.8E  1116Z   0.25M /  0.8FT  58MIN
 KWAJALEIN MH          8.7N 167.7E  1111Z   0.55M /  1.8FT  48MIN
 NIKOLSKI AK          52.9N 168.9W  1109Z   0.27M /  0.9FT  64MIN
 HANASAKI HOKKAIDO J  43.3N 145.6E  0656Z   1.83M /  6.0FT  24MIN
 MIDWAY               28.2N 177.4W  1048Z   1.27M /  4.2FT  12MIN
 TOSASHIMIZU SHIKOKU  32.8N 133.0E  0946Z   0.84M /  2.8FT  28MIN
 ADAK AK              51.9N 176.6W  1034Z   0.35M /  1.2FT  22MIN
 YAP FM                9.5N 138.1E  1013Z   0.15M /  0.5FT  88MIN
 DART 21415           50.2N 171.8E  0845Z   0.27M /  0.9FT  52MIN
 WAKE US              19.3N 166.6E  0928Z   0.39M /  1.3FT  14MIN
 NAHA OKINAWA JP      26.2N 127.7E  0901Z   0.25M /  0.8FT  60MIN
 SAIPAN US            15.2N 145.7E  0916Z   0.65M /  2.1FT  30MIN
 OMAEZAKI HONSHU JP   34.6N 138.2E  0818Z   1.42M /  4.6FT  56MIN
 DART 21419           44.5N 155.7E  0716Z   0.40M /  1.3FT  20MIN
 DART 21413           30.5N 152.1E  0659Z   0.76M /  2.5FT  32MIN
 DART 21401           42.6N 152.6E  0643Z   0.67M /  2.2FT  40MIN
 DART 21418           38.7N 148.7E  0619Z   1.08M /  3.5FT  06MIN

Sen. Daniel Akaka and his staff monitoring news reports Friday morning of the tsunami hitting Hawaii and Japan in Akaka's Washington, D.C. office. Akaka has been in contact with FEMA officials and is receiving reports from state civil defense and the military. He encourages all Hawaii residents to follow the instructions of local civil defense officials. (Photo courtesy of Akaka's Office)

5:03 a.m. Friday

Hawaii County Civil Defense updated audio message

4:50 a.m. Friday

Reports that tsunami watch has been cancelled for Guam.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie released the following statement regarding state employees reporting to work Friday, March 11:

“All essential state employees and those involved in disaster response should report to work today, Friday, March 11. All other state employees should not report to work until otherwise notified by their supervisor. I want to thank everyone for being flexible during this difficult situation.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov Brian Schatz with state officials in the State Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center. They are continuing to monitor all shoreline activity across the state. (Photo courtesy of State Civil Defense)

PTWC geophysicist Gerard Fryer: “We called this right. This evacuation was absolutely necessary. Is the worst over? I sure hope so, but I don’t know.”

Visitors sleeping in the community meeting room at the West Hawaii Civic Center. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Margaret Masunaga)

4:10 a.m. Friday

Fryer says Hilo Bay may still see highest level change in the state, but so far has recorded 3 feet.

Waves are expected to come in about 10-15 minute intervals, Fryer said, although the bigger the earthquake, the longer the interval and greater potential for damage.

“This is playing out slowly,” he said, noting previous tsunami episodes have lasted an entire day.

Meanwhile, the county helicopter has been spotted buzzing around above Hilo Bay.

All-clear not likely before dawn. At the very earliest.

 GAUGE LOCATION       LAT   LON     TIME        AMPL         PER
 NAWILIWILI KAUAI     22.0N 159.4W  1311Z   0.64M /  2.1FT  26MIN
 HALEIWA HI           21.6N 158.1W  1316Z   1.00M /  3.3FT  56MIN
 MAKAPUU HI           21.3N 158.1W  1312Z   0.50M /  1.6FT  52MIN
 HANALEI HI           22.2N 159.5W  1306Z   0.85M /  2.8FT  28MIN
 TERN FR. FRIGATE US  23.9N 166.3W  1224Z   0.37M /  1.2FT  16MIN

Statement from Sen. Daniel Inouye:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan as they work to recover from this tragic disaster. In Hawaii, please heed all warnings from state and county Civil Defense until the all clear is sounded.”

Statement from President Barack Obama:

“The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected.”

4:05 a.m. Friday

Kawaihae showing ocean level change.

Hilo showing a rise too.

4 a.m. Friday

Second wave currently washing into Kauai.

In TV interview, Gerard Fryer, PTWC geophysicist, said so far the largest wave was recorded on Maui.

The first wave to hit Kahalui grew up to 6 feet, he said, but also cautioned the second wave could be larger.

If the situation does not change, the warning may be rescinded in several hours.

However, Fryer said, tsunami can ping-pong back and forth between islands and is unpredictable.

Scientists encouraged that predictions closely matched the model.

3:45 a.m. Friday

Hawaii measurements of tsunami wave activity:

Nawiliwili: 1.6 feet (0.48 meter)
Pearl Harbor: 1.6 feet (0.5 meter)
Barbers Point: 2.3 feet (0.7 meter)

Slight rises reported on Kauai and Waikiki.

No damage reported.

Effects may be seen for hours, so we’re not in the clear yet.

President Barack Obama is reported to be monitoring the situation closely at the White House.

Japan death toll now includes 200-300 bodies found in wake of tsunami that swept the northeastern region.

3:30 a.m. Friday

Some reports of surging along Waikiki shores. Nothing that looks dangerous. Yet.

Hawaiian Airlines Update

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 457 landed at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport at 9:50 p.m. Tokyo time.

Hawaiian’s Flight 458 from Haneda to Honolulu, scheduled to depart at 11:59 p.m. Tokyo time, has been delayed due to ground transportation challenges in getting flight crews to the airport. The flight’s new departure time is 9 a.m. Tokyo time.

3:27 a.m. Friday

Ocean level rising in Nawiliwili, Kauai. Visit:

3:20 a.m. Friday

Evacuees in Kona listen to a Hawaii County Civil Defense update on the radio. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Margaret Masunaga)

3:15 a.m. Friday

No reports of tsunami action from Kauai.

Update expected from PTWC soon …

3 a.m. Friday

Updated Hawaii County CD Audio Message

2:55 a.m. Friday

Latest arrival time estimates:

Nawiliwili – 2:59 a.m.
Honolulu – 3:13 a.m.
Kahului – 3:20 a.m.
Hilo – 3:39 a.m.

Condos, time shares and hotels evacuated along Kona and Kohala coast.

King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel evacuated all guests via bus. Also confirmed that Fairmont Orchid has evacuated.

Kona International Airport is not within the inundation zone and remains open.

Japan death toll at 60.

2:35 a.m. Friday

Operations Update from Hawaiian Airlines:

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 457 is enroute to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport and is expected to land there as scheduled at approximately 10:05 p.m. Tokyo time. Haneda is open and operational.

Hawaiian Flight 466 from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Honolulu departed at 10:21 p.m. local time March 10 and is scheduled to arrive at 5:46 a.m.

Hawaiian Flight 17 from Las Vegas to Honolulu departed at 1:49 a.m. local time and is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu at 6:21 a.m.

Hawaiian has no other flights scheduled to operate until the departure of its first interisland flights from Honolulu at 5 a.m. Friday.

The company will advise further as information becomes available.

Passengers ticketed on Hawaiian Airlines, to travel between Hawaii or Continental U.S and Haneda, Japan, will be permitted to change date of travel, based on the following:

* Applies to ticketed passengers booked to travel on or before March 18, 2011.
* Changes to flight or date permitted for travel through April 30, 2011.
* Change fee will be waived and fare differences will not apply, provided travel within same compartment.
* Not applicable to codeshare flights
* Non-refundable fares will remain non-refundable

2:30 a.m. Friday (March 11)

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County workers man roadblocks leading to ocean areas early Friday morning. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

2 a.m. Friday

Sirens again.

Riding out the tsunami at Kona WalMart parking lot. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Among the tsunami refugees spending the night in the Kona WalMart parking lot were four long-time friends from Utah.

The group arrived Wednesday and is staying at an oceanfront condo in Kailua Village. Their first vacation together turned into something of an adventure Thursday evening.

“We were sitting on the deck, sipping our wine when the sirens went off,” Vicki Gines said. “We had no idea.”

They flipped on the TV, packed up their rental car and headed for safe ground.

“We’re just a bunch of old ladies out on vacation,” Sue Marshall said. “A trip to Hawaii was on our bucket list.”

“I’m ripping up that list when I get home,” Gines said. “For me, this is a little scary. We’re from Utah. We don’t get tsunamis there.”

The ladies said they sent messages to relatives to let them know they are OK.

“We texted everyone to say we were evacuating to the WalMart parking lot,” Gines said. “And we’ll be sleeping in the car.”

The ladies agreed they would not let a tsunami spoil their holiday, saying it is an inconvenience, but will make a good story.

Closing down Palani Road and Kuakini Highway. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Closing down Hualalai Road and Kuakini Highway. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

1:45 a.m. Friday

Chip McCreery of PTWC said the readings from Midway and Wake islands fit with the model scientists were working on and do not substantially change predictions.

Still about 6 feet. Still expected to arrive at Big Island about 3:30 a.m.

A tsunami is a series of long ocean waves. Each individual wave crest can last 5 to 15 minutes or more and extensively flood coastal areas.

The danger can continue for many hours after the initial wave as subsequent waves arrive. The first may not be the largest.

Tsunami waves efficiently wrap around islands. All shores are at risk.

The trough of a tsunami wave may temporarily expose the seafloor,
but the area will quickly flood again.

Extremely strong and unusual nearshore currents can accompany a tsunami.

1:35 a.m. Friday

HELCO advisory on tsunami preparations:

With a tsunami warning in effect, Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) is making preparations to respond to the potential impact to the electric system and coordinating efforts with other emergency response agencies.

These actions are underway:
* Ensuring fuel supplies for generation, including emergency generation, are topped off;
* Securing HELCO facilities, making sure employees and equipment are safe.

In addition, HELCO urges customers to take the following precautions, as appropriate:

* Make sure you have a battery-powered radio on hand to listen for updates on the tsunami.
* Double check your emergency equipment at home such as flashlights, radios, cell phones and other battery-powered equipment to be sure they are operational.
* If your home or business is in an inundation zone, turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment before you leave, especially sensitive electronics. In the event of an outage, this will help prevent damage to the equipment from surges when power is restored.
* If someone in your home is dependent on electric powered, life sustaining medical equipment, check backup facilities. Plan where to go should the need for evacuation occur, and remember to take your equipment, medicine and/or supplies with you.
* Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. If power goes out, this will keep food fresher longer.
* If you plan to use a portable generator, make sure it is placed in a well ventilated area (preferably outside) and be sure to carefully follow all instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. As a general rule, do not plug portable generators into household outlets. Doing so could cause electricity to backflow into power lines endangering the public and HELCO workers who may be working to restore power. Electric appliances should be plugged directly into the generator using heavy duty extension cords. Make sure the wattage of the appliances you are using does not exceed the capacity of your generator.
* Keep cash on hand. If power outages do occur, you may not be able to withdraw cash from banks or ATMs.

Electrical safety advice

* Do NOT approach downed utility lines or touch fallen or low hanging wires, nor anything they may be in contact with. As a precaution, assume that all cables and lines may still be energized, regardless of whether they are power lines or telephone or cable television lines
* Stay away from downed lines. Warn others to stay away. Call HELCO’s Trouble Line at 969-6666 or dial 911 for emergency assistance.


Keep telephone lines clear for police and other emergency services. Call HELCO only to report downed sparking power lines or unsafe electrical equipment.

Key numbers to note:
Trouble Line: 969-6666
Emergency: 911

1:30 a.m. Friday

Kona WalMart is staying open overnight as the parking lot is filled with residents and visitors rising out the tsunami threat in their cars.

Death toll in Japan now at 32. Tokyo Narita airports cancels all flights.

The following schools will be closed Friday:
All DOE public schools
West Hawaii Exploration Academy
Innovations Pubic Charter School
Waimea Middle School
St. Joseph School, Hilo
Mauna Loa School & Mauna Loa Preschool, Hilo

All University of Hawaii campuses will be open.

1:20 a.m. Friday

Kona evacuation going smoothly. Police have most intersections shut down and are directing traffic out of the danger zone.

Security crews are sweeping town, urging stragglers to head inland.

Bars and restaurants along Alii Drive all closed early, but few businesses seem to have taken further precautions. Nothing boarded up or secured beyond.

12:15 a.m. Friday

Gov. Neil Abercrombie made the following statement from the State Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center on Oahu:

“Residents should take this tsunami warning seriously. All state and county agencies and law enforcement are doing what needs to be done to ensure public safety.

“This is a time to be sensible and act with aloha. Please be mindful of your neighbors, especially for the elderly who may need kokua at this time. If you are in a tsunami inundation zone, please make your way to higher ground or go to your nearest shelter.”

Currently Hawaii National Guard is on standby on all Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii State Civil Defense:

12:10 a.m. Friday

At EOC forecast is for tsunami to hit Oahu at 3:14 a.m. and Kailua-Kona at 3:29 a.m.

11:30 p.m. Thursday

More evacuation centers open across Big Island. See list below at 10:45 p.m. update.

11:25 p.m. Thursday

State Civil Defense now advising all residents in tsunami inundation zones to evacuate immediately.

Chip McCreery of PTWC said northern and western shores may see more impact, but entire coastline will see some action.

Scientists waiting for information as wave passes Wake Island monitors.

Kauai Civil Defense:

DLNR is advising boat owners with a boat in the water to take precautions to protect life and property. It is recommended operational boats be either removed from the water or take it out to sea beyond the 1,000-fathom mark.

Japan death toll is at five after earthquakes and 13-foot wall of water that swept across the northeastern shoreline.

11:10 p.m. Thursday

Big Island records a 4.5 magnitude near Volcano at 10:58 p.m. Thursday.

List of quakes in Japan since the 8.9

The list was taken from the USGS earthquake website:

11:01 p.m. Thursday

Sirens going off again. Expect sirens every hour on the hour.

Hilo is among the Hawaii bays expected to be most affected.

AT&T Tsunami Tips:

* Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. If there is a tsunami, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.

* Use text messaging. During a peak emergency situation, text messages will often go through quicker than voice calls because they require less network resources. This will help free up the network so that emergency personnel and 911 users can communicate without delay. All of AT&T’s wireless devices are text messaging capable.

11 p.m. Thursday

Friday is a regularly scheduled non-instructional day for the state Department of Education. That means public school students were not going to be in classrooms anyway.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center now predicts first tsunami wave on Kauia at 3:07 a.m. Friday. About 3:37 a.m. for the Big Island.

Latest Info from Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

GAUGE LOCATION        LAT   LON    TIME        AMPL         PER
TOSASHIMIZU SHIKOKU  32.8N 133.0E  0752Z   0.94M /  3.1FT  72MIN
DART 21413           30.5N 152.1E  0659Z   0.76M /  2.5FT  32MIN
HANASAKI HOKKAIDO J  43.3N 145.6E  0657Z   2.79M /  9.2FT  76MIN
DART 21401           42.6N 152.6E  0643Z   0.67M /  2.2FT  40MIN
DART 21418           38.7N 148.7E  0619Z   1.08M /  3.5FT  06MIN

NOAA Wavewatch:

10:45 p.m. Thursday

Evacuation centers are now open across the island. More may be opening through the night.

10:40 p.m. Thursday

Police and emergency crews are beginning to set up roadblocks around the island as the evacuation process gets underway.

Hilo airport is closed, fences are open for evacuation of Keaukaha area. Kona International Airport is outside the designated inundation zone.

Tides for Friday

Low tide: 3:48 a.m.
High tide: 7:23 a.m.

Low tide: 1:40 a.m.
High tide: 5:27 a.m.

Low tide: 3:32 a.m.
High tide: 7:17 a.m.

10:25 p.m. Thursday

U.S. Coast Guard rescue crews are making preparations throughout the Hawaiian Islands to provide post-tsunami support.

Coast Guard cutter and aircraft crews are positioning themselves to be ready to conduct response and survey missions as soon as it is safe.

10:15 p.m. Thursday

Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all low-lying coastal areas of the Big Island. The deadline to evacuate those areas is 2 a.m.

Hawaii 24/7 has evacuation maps posted on its front page. Maps also are located in every phone book.

10 p.m. Thursday

Sirens going off across state.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency has activated its Emergency Operations Center in Hilo, which means all emergency crews are on stand-by and ready to respond.

In a television interview on Oahu, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center chief Chip McCreery said although the Japan earthquake is similar in size to last year’s one in Chile, it is closer to Hawaii.

McCreery said scientists still are analyzing data, although it is a fast moving event and data is limited, so the situation and information will change quickly.

Scientists will be watching other islands to the west of Hawaii to gauge what is happening. Impacts are likely to be felt about 11:30 p.m. on Wake Island and about 12:30 a.m. on Midway.

McCreery said early estimates mean Hawaii could see a wave surge up to 6.5 feet (2 meters), which will reach Kauai first – about 3 a.m. The Big Island likely would see it about 20-30 minutes later.

He urged residents to take precautions.

— Find out more:
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center:

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Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Quince Mento talks about the tsunami warning in effect. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.

One Response to “Hawaii’s tsunami warning – updating through the night”

  1. Brittany says:

    Wondering if there is any news about the Kona airport? I’m scheduled to fly in tomorrow and the flight hasn’t been cancelled yet. Any info would be great! thanks for posting the play by play here!


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