Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hawaii Chile Earthquake: Tsunami Wave to Hit Hawaii at 4:05 PM EST

The first waves are expected to arrive in Hawaii at 11:05 AM local time, 4:05 PM EST. Continuing updates as available. At 6:00 AM Hawaii time, 11AM EST, FOXNews reports live, that sirens are sounding now in Hawaii. There remains about 5 hours to evacuate tsunami zones. Hilo Bay area may receive the highest waves.  The tsunami warning for Hawaii has been lifted. Read the story of an American tourist on Hilo below.

See live streaming video from Hawaii here.

12:05 PM Hawaii Time (5:10 PM EST) The first surge is nearing the island of Hawaii.

At 11:55 AM EST, Malia Zimmerman with the Hawaiian Reporter says waves are expected to be 6'-12', in long continuing waves - lasting several hours. Some sirens are not working.

WARNING from Charles McCreery: Do not go to the beaches to see the waves. The waves are unpredictable and you may not be able to get out of the way. Go to higher ground.

The tsunami is said to be moving across the Pacific Ocean at the speed of a jet liner.

Charles McCreery, director of The Ewa Beach, a Hawaii-based center, called for "urgent action to protect lives and property." McCreery said the waves are expected to be the biggest to hit Hawaii since 1964.

The state planned to sound warning sirens statewide at 6 a.m. to alert residents and tourists of the incoming tsunami, said Shelly Ichishita, spokeswoman for state civil defense.
People in coastal areas, such as tourist-filled Waikiki, will then be instructed on a possible evacuation. The sirens will also be sounded again three hours prior to the estimated arrival time.
"If you're in an evacuation zone, police or civil defense volunteers would instruct you to evacuate, or instructions will come out over the radio and TV," she said.
If coastal areas are evacuated, visitors in Waikiki would be moved to higher floors in their hotels, rather than moved out of the tourist district, which could cause gridlock.
At 11 AM EST Rick Reichmuth at FOX says warning sirens are sounding, which indicates that ocean buoys are indicating that there are tsunami waves forming.

Update 2-27-10:
Eucadorean President Rafael Correa said a tsunami has passed the Galapagos Islands, causing a swell but no damage.

In Hawaii, tourists in Waikiki may be moved to higher floors in hotels.

10:40 EST - This report says Hilo on Hawaii Island may receive the biggest waves. "The shape of the Bay [Hilo Bay] favors the waves gaining in height. Beaches throughout the Hawaiian Islands are being evacuated.
Get off the shore line. We are closing all the beaches and telling people to drive out of the area," said John Cummings, Oahu Civil
11:40 EST - The Mayor of Honolulu, on FOXNews said tourists will be moved to the third floor of hotels or higher.

From MSNBC's WorldBlog:
Don Sullivan of Denver, Colo., was vacationing in Hilo when he was awoken at 6 a.m. local time by tsunami warning sirens and forced to evacuate to high ground.  Sirens continued to blare every hour after than, he said.  

"The evacuation seemed smooth, but there were huge gas lines," he said.

He drove to a nearby scenic overlook about 100 feet above the beach, where he had a good view of the tsunami waves as they arrived. The sky was full of helicopters, he said, but there was no sense of panic among the evacuees.

Two hours before the first wave hit, at about 2 p.m. ET, Sullivan said "The whales (were) going nuts, very, very active," he said.  Then, about an hour before that wave, only a single whale remained in view.  [He was] "About 100 yards out, young, looks like he is confused, bobbing up and down, he is in trouble," Sullivan said.  

Then, just after 4 p.m. ET, the water receded with eery calm away from the coast.  

"The beach line quickly (got) wider," he said.  A few minutes later, the water rushed back in. "The bay (looks) bizarre, like a blender," he said.  The churned up bay filled with dirty water, he said.  There was no sign of the struggling whale after the second wave, he said.

Then, at around 5:45, after three "surges" of water, the whales reappeared, suggesting to Sullivan that nature might be getting back to normal. 

"The choppers are leaving and the whales are returning," he said.

But public officials continue to issues warning that the tsunami was still dangerous, so Sullivan, 47, had no idea what to do next.

"We don't really know what to do with ourselves," he said. "I've been up since yesterday morning and we don't know if we will be allowed to go back to our hotel."

Related and Background:
Chile 8.8 Quake Devastation Tsunami Alert: 131' Wave Hits Chile: Hawaii Tsunami Warning 

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