Wednesday, October 31, 2012

After the Tsunami Warning

Maui had another brush with disaster on Saturday night, 10/27/12, with a tsunami warning issued at 7:30 pm after an earthquake occurred off the coast of Canada.

Luckily, nothing happened. Or nothing much. The County reported no major damage from the tsunami. Still yet, people in Pa'ia, Kihei, and other shoreline areas had to evacuate. Sirens started going off at 7:30 pm. Police drove up and down streets in Pa'ia to help spread the tsunami warning. Halloween events for the Saturday before Halloween were cancelled. But many of them are rescheduled for this coming Saturday. 

Here's a video shot by some residents in Kihei as the tsunami warning sirens are sounding. By the way, a very short, about 15 second emergency siren went off today around 11 am because they always test emergency sirens the first day of each month. 

Hotels made visitors evacuate to the upper floors. The County of Maui shut off water in Kahului. The last plane arrived around 7:30 pm and the airport issued warnings to tourists that they had one hour to get their bags, get their cars, and head to higher ground. And twitter was abuzz with tweets for the hashtag #hitsunami.

Not everyone in coastal areas had to evacuate. Some friends who are only 90 feet above sea level were able to stay in their homes. People in one side of Hana Highway in Ku'au had to evacuate, but the residents on the other side of the highway could stay home.

Around 1:30 am or so, the all clear signal was given and people were allowed to go back to their homes. And some people were able to sleep through all the noise anyhow - amazing!

On the other hand, folks in the East Coast weren't so lucky and are dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.  Our thoughts are with them. 

Last year, in March, there was another tsunami warning when Japan had a major earthquake. There was actually some damage in Hawaii from those waves, although the waves were thankfully not tsunami-sized. I did go out to the beach the next day and the waves were extremely erratic. This year, I decided to play it safe, and stay away from the water. 

The last major tsunami that Kahului experienced was I believe in 1964. There was some serious flooding and people found octopus dangling in their trees and sea life in their yards. So, tsunamis can happen, as described in this timeline on Hawaii tsunamis, and it's better to be safe and evacuate if the sirens go off again. 


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