Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared an emergency Friday afternoon after Hawaii was hit by a tsunami Friday morning. The first wave hit Kauai at 2:59 a.m. and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle gave the all-clear signal about five hours later. No deaths or major injuries have been reported.

Follow developments here.

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5:18 p.m. First-Person Account from Tokyo

The father of Civil Beat reporter Robert Brown gave a brief account of his experience in Tokyo since the earthquake. Here’s what the former Honolulu resident, Stan Brown, told us:

“All the subways, because they’re extraordinarily efficient here in Japan, were shut down literally immediately. So that’s the good thing. But then the challenge was, everybody, I was in a taxi heading back to my office and the taxi driver, you know the car really started to rock… Here, people get earthquakes all the time. But it was very evident by the way people were reacting that this was much, much bigger than normal. And as I was in the taxi, you could see literally thousands of people coming out from all the office buildings because all the office buildings were immediately evacuated. So people were coming out into the street, many with hardhats on because almost all the business here are prepared. So they came out into the streets where that’s generally safer and looking up and there was some debris and some stuff coming down off of the buildings. But, because of the way the buildings are constructed, you can feel – when I was in my office, I could feel it roll back and forth, and even though you could feel that there wasn’t as much stress on the building, it was really swinging. But because the construction, most of it is earthquake resistant, most of the buildings stood up pretty well. But there were certainly a lot of challenges even in Tokyo, which was about 200 miles south of the epicenter.”

“And then as people started to pour into the streets, the biggest challenge was that you have tens of thousands of people in the streets, the hotels were full, taxis were full and there’s no subway. So most people here have an average commute of about an hour and a half from their homes into the city. So they had nowhere to go. So a lot of people, including me, walked home. I walked across the city. Even this morning, people were still walking all over the streets and cars were bumper to bumper trying to get out of the city or get home or wherever they were going.”

“There were structure fires. I did see some ambulances so I would expect some people were hurt but I haven’t heard a definitive number on that. The country here is prepared for earthquakes and to their credit, there’s been no looting that I’ve seen or heard of. It’s a very family oriented culture so they tend to help out. I would say people were very, very concerned but they were calm. They were calm and they were handling it well. I didn’t see any panic on the streets. I saw tens of thousands of people trying to get home, but I didn’t see any panic, I didn’t see any looting, I didn’t see any crime, I didn’t see anything like that. The power went off in many places. Power went off in our apartment for a little while. At one point in time, there were hundreds of thousands without power.

“It was by far the worst violent shaking I’ve ever seen.”

5:13 p.m. Decompressing on Social Media

Now that the danger is past, social media talk about Hawaii’s tsunami warning is at a trickle. Still, many locals are decompressing via their public Twitter and Facebook feeds. Some have announced that they are already in the market for their “I Survived The 2011 Tsunami” T-shirts.

Others are turning their attention to Japan and taking to the fiberoptic cables to raise support for earthquake and tsunami victims.

“FHB has started Japan-HI Tsunami Relief Fund and will contribute $100K and is accepting donations at all FHB branches:” -@JoshuapPLevinson

“Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the international relief fund for Japan #hitsunami /@HawaiiRedCross” -@koolaucenter

“Who’s doing fundraisers today and this weekend for the earthquake relief effort? LET US KNOW! #hitsunami” -@thedailydish:

5:11 p.m.  Tonga Rocked By Earthquake

Another earthquake has been reported in the Pacific region. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Tonga this afternoon. No tsunami alerts have been issued in connection with that quake.

4:57 p.m. Blame It On the Congestion

The sudden news of a massive earthquake off the East Coast of Japan and subsequent tsunami warning certainly sent plenty of Hawaii residents reaching for their cell phones.

But when some of them dialed, nothing happened. Starting at around 9 p.m. Thursday and lasting intermittently through the evening and early morning, AT&T customers (including a handful of Civil Beaters) were unable to get a signal.

AT&T representative Courtney Pendleton told Civil Beat Friday that the company acknowledges “the important role that communication plays in any emergency situation.” That’s why it recommended that customers keep non-emergency calls to a minimum and instead use less-burdensome text messages.

Not enough people followed that advice, and AT&T’s network became congested, Pendleton said.

“In any kind of emergency situation, it’s not uncommon to see this,” she said.

On Friday, with users taking to social media to complain about their service provider, many were encouraged to try the oldest trick in the book: turning their phones off and on to get back on the network.

4:35 p.m. Governor Declares Emergency

Gov. Neil Abercrombie late Friday afternoon issued an emergency proclamation to enable the state to seek federal assistance, including financial support.

While assessing the damage from the tsunami is still under way, a preliminary estimate for state properties alone totals at least $3 million. That estimate will likely rise considerably when damage to businesses is determined.

State civil defense officials say the Big Island has suffered the worst damage of all the islands, particularly on the Kailua-Kona side. Civil defense is still activated on that island.

The governor credited local media in helping to get important and timely information about the tsunami to Hawaii residents. He also said the state has expressed its sympathy to the government of Japan, where an 8.9 earthquake generated the Pacific tsunami.

The emergency proclamation also gives the governor the authority to activate the National Guard to help with relief efforts, and to expedite the procurement process to pay for repairs.

4:25 p.m. Hawaii Civil Defense: Tsunami Caused $3M in Damages

Hawaii Civil Defense vice director Ed Teixeira puts the damage caused by Friday’s tsunami at about $3 million, noting that that’s a conservative estimate. At a press conference Friday afternoon, Teixeira said the damage to Keehi Lagoon on Oahu could be as high as $1 million. Damage to the area around the Kailua-Kona pier on the Big Island could also be as high as $1 million.

3:58 p.m. Deadly Tsunami Not Oahu Residents Biggest Worry

The threat from a tsunami is not at the top of the list of disaster concerns of Hawaii residents, according to a poll by the Honolulu Department of Emergency Services.

In a Honolulu Department of Emergency Services briefing before the City Council in December, officials said Hawaii residents rank possible natural disasters they believe most likely to harm them:

  1. High winds
  2. Hurricanes
  3. Earthquakes
  4. Flooding
  5. Tsunamis

The city’s most recent update to its Hazard Mitigation Plan — a document submitted to the federal government every five years that enables the city to secure federal funds for disaster relief — identifies public safety concerns on Oahu:

  • Improvements to reliability of power and communications
  • Retrofitting infrastructure like airports, harbors and highways to withstand disaster conditions
  • Strengthening essential facilities like hospitals

2:20 p.m. ‘Late Surge’ Caused Big Island’s Four Seasons Resort Closure

Kukio Golf and Beach Club General Manager Rick Tramontin says the Big Island has experienced an unexpected late surge of water.

In an e-mail to club members, sent at 1:55 p.m., Tramontin said: “After an unexpected late surge of water, Kukio experienced a great deal of beach erosion and some damage to the OP area. This damage was minor and mostly cosmetic in nature with some minor damage to some of the OP equipment. The Beach Club was untouched and I have not had any reports of any damage to any homes along the ocean. At this time we are working diligently to get the beaches back to normal.”

The e-mail does not specify what time the late surge hit the club.

Tramontin also said the Four Seasons Resort and the Kona Village Resort have been closed for an undetermined amount of time due to “significant damage.”

“If you are coming to Hawaii for Spring Break and have reservations at either of these resorts, please contact them as soon as possible to get a status update,” Tramontin wrote.

2:18 p.m. Hawaii Helps Japan

Yumi Nasrallah of Kahala and her two children, ages 5 and 7, are selling snacks on Hunakai Street to raise money for Japan earthquake and tsunami victims.

Selling the snacks was the kids’ idea, Nasrallah said.

Her parents, like the family members of many in Hawaii, live in Japan and were only one prefecture over from one of the areas hit hardest by the devastation.

“I was worried all night, and finally got to talk to on the phone with my mom this morning,” Nasrallah said. “We were texting, but we weren’t even able to do that until 1 a.m., and I didn’t know if they were OK all that time.”

“The kids saw me upset and they wanted to do something to help,” she said.

Because Nasrallah also was in an evacuation zone, she said, she didn’t have supplies for the kids to set up a lemonade stand. They grabbed whatever snacks they had on hand — granola bars, chips, juices, etc.

Lots of people have been stopping by their makeshift snack stand, but many won’t buy: they just want to give.

“Even teenagers heading out to surf are stopping by and they want to do something to help,” Nasrallah said.

2:15 p.m. Maui Mayor Surveys Damage From the Air

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa surveyed Maui, Molokai and Lanai islands damaged by Friday’s tsunami by helicopter, according to the Maui News.

He said Molokai and Lanai appeared to have little damage, but that Kihei on Maui looked to have taken the brunt of the waves.

Essential services were shut down on Kahului Thursday evening. They were restored Friday morning.

Near Kanaha Beach Park, people were picking up fish and octopi from the road. Meanwhile, fire fighters were dispatched to return a 50-pound sea turtle to the ocean.

1:51 p.m. Report of Two Homes Pulled Into Bay

Friday’s tsunami pulled two Big Island homes into Kealakekua Bay, KITV reports. At the Big Island’s Napoopoo, officials say surges of water pushed 100 feet inland.

1:33 p.m. Hulihee Palace Suffers Extensive Damage

The historic Hulihee Palace in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island has suffered extensive damage from Friday’s tsunami, according to Damon Tucker’s Blog.
Tucker claims the basement of the palace has been flooded but it is not yet known how many artifacts were affected.
Tucker reports the palace administrator, Fanny Au Hoy, says three cars were loaded with palace goods before the waves struck.
The palace recently underwent $1.5 million in renovations after an October 2007 earthquake on the Big Island. The structure was built in 1838 as a vacation home for Hawaiian royalty. Today it’s a museum.

1:27 p.m. Dispatches From Big Island Residents

Geraldine Cheplic lives along the Hamakua Coast of East Hawaii. “Driving in today on route 19 into Hilo, I crossed the bridge and saw no debris on the roadway,” said Cheplic.

Cheplic lives at “elevation-level” and can see the ocean from her home. She said there was not much action last night. “There was no receeding of the water, the sea level had risen but there was no water recession. It looked relatively calm,” she said.

Cheplic, who said that Hilo is beautiful today, said the only inconvenient thing about the tsunami warning were the sirens, located behind her house. “The only thing is there is a siren located right behind my home. So there was no sleep, even if we fell asleep we would be woken up by the sirens,” she said.

Devin Chong, senior at Kealakehe High School, lives “up on a mountain” in the Kona area. He says he was not personally affected by the tsunami. “We weren’t too worried because we weren’t in a crisis area and had enough gas, food and supplies for a few days,” he said.

1:23 p.m. Report of 12-Foot Waves at Kukio on Big Island

The general manager of the luxury Kukio Golf and Beach Club on the Big Island says 12 foot waves hit the shore Friday morning.

In an e-mail to members, manager Rick Tramontin said the course would remain open for play despite some damage.

“The island is still under an advisory notice as the tidal surges are still very strong,” Tramontin wrote at 7:45 a.m. Friday. “The Tsunami waves did surge up to 12 feet at Kukio and although did not reach the beach club, did have some impact on our OP Beach and the State Park. We will maintain closure of the beach club until 12 noon to allow time for clean up and preparation for the day.”

The largest wave amplitude in the state — six feet above normal sea level — was experienced at Kahului, Maui, at 3:40 a.m. according to reports from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Hilo peaked at 4.3 feet above sea level at 3:57 a.m., and Kawaihae, on the Kona coast, topped out at 2.8 feet at 3:30 a.m.

But localized wave conditions could have been higher depending on the shape of the coastline.

1:20 p.m. How to Evaluate Charities to Help Japan Victims

Here’s a good site to help evaluate charities if you’re thinking of donating to victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

1:12 p.m. Big Island Four Seasons Shut Through Tuesday

The Four Seasons Resort on the Big Island will be closed at least through Tuesday due to damage caused by Friday’s tsunami.

In an e-mail sent out to residents who own property on the Four Seasons Resort, General Manager John Freitas said guests of the hotel would be transferred to another resort.

“We have been able to assess some of the damage caused to the resort property and based on this the decision has been made to close the Four Seasons Resort and all associated amenities and facilities at least through Tuesday of next week,” Freitas wrote. 

“All guests of the Four Seasons are being assisted in transferring to another resort or will be assisted in returning home.  Kona Village and all associated amenities including ocean activities will not be available until further notice.”

Residents were told they were clear to return to their homes, but for safety reasons, were advised not to go near the shoreline.

1:10 p.m. Video From Kona Surge

Watch the surge in Kona from a videographer who was standing in the midst of the surge.

11:42 a.m. More Pictures of the Tsunami Damage

Vivid images from Japan on the Atlantic’s In Focus blog.

And some local images showing water being sucked out of Maalaea Harbor on Maui.

11:29 a.m. Mayor Carlisle Praises City Response to Tsunami

Mayor Peter Carlisle released a statement Friday morning lauding the work of emergency service personnel and the reaction of Honolulu citizens to the tsunami.

“Our residents and visitors reacted admirably,” Carlisle said in a press release.  “They understood the dangers of a tsunami and evacuated our shorelines.  On behalf of the City and County of Honolulu, I want to thank everyone for taking this threat seriously.”

The mayor says that while the waves did not cause widespread destruction in Hawaii, that “the event was not a false alarm.”

City emergency coordinators worked with the American Red Cross, Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric, and The Gas Company throughout the ordeal.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to our close friends in Japan and to those who have lost loved ones in the Honshu earthquake,” Carlisle said.

11:04 a.m. Watch a time lapse of several tsunami surges hitting the bay front at Kailua Kona. The video is made up of about 100 photos over a 45 minute period. Photographed from Royal Kona Resort by Mike Session.

10:22 a.m. Smashed Boats at Sand Island

Boats were smashed at their docks at La Mariana Yacht Club is on Sand Island. The surging tides are causing boats to crash into each other. There are about 100 boats at the club. Some are missing, some are sinking, like the one pictured below. The boat’s owner was too upset to talk to reporters.

Photo credit: Nanea Kalani

10:07 a.m. Some Hawaii House Hearings Will Go On

It turns out the House committee hearings will convene as scheduled — with the exception of the committee on Agriculture and Higher Education. Any questions — call the House Clerk’s office at 586-6400.

9:13 a.m. Kauai County — Open For Business

The County of Kauai plans to be open for business today, according to county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka.

Employees are advised to monitor the media for road closures and other information, and to report to work as they are able. The County’s Ocean Safety Bureau advises all persons to stay out of the ocean for the remainder of the day today.

9:07 a.m. Business at the Capitol Grinding to a Halt

Senate hearings have been canceled, but senators will meet for floor session. To the untrained eye, it’ll look like business as usual — except they might defer everything, according to the Senate Clerk’s office. The decision will be made by Senate leadership in advance of the 11:30 a.m. session.1

Folks who follow happenings at the Capitol received the following e-mail:

Please be advised that all Senate committee hearings and briefings scheduled this afternoon have been cancelled and will be rescheduled to a later date. If you have any questions, please contact the Senate Clerk’s office at 586-6720. Thank you for your understanding.

8:52 a.m. Transportation Infrastructure Mostly Unscathed

None of the airports reporting any damage, Dan Meisenzahl from the Hawaii Department of Transportation told Hawaii News Now. An early assessment shows that so far no major damage to state harbors, bar a fence that had been knocked down at Kahului harbor when the surge came through.

8:31 a.m. House in Session

Hawaii House of Representatives spokeswoman Georgette Deemer has sent a tweet indicating that lawmakers should show up for work:

@georgettedeemer The House of Representatives will have session at noon today. Members should attend. However, staff not required to come in.

8:20 a.m. All Clear Sounded in Honolulu

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle has given the “all clear” to evacuated residents, according to TV news reports.

8:07 a.m. Sleeping in Cars

The Koko Head bound lanes of Kalanianaole Highway remain closed despite the 7:30 a.m. change from warning to advisory.

That meant gridlock for Ainakoa Avenue — which is where the closure starts. More than 100 cars had lined up along the residential street and many drivers had parked their cars, reclined their seats and appeared to be .

7:40 a.m. Warning Downgraded to Advisory

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center this morning downgraded its warning to an advisory, the lowest level of tsunami notification. This means people are advised not to go to the beach or into the water, but they can return to their homes in coastal areas. The official downgrade came at about 7:30 a.m.

At 7:28 a.m., Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho issued the all-clear after the warning was downgraded to an advisory. Hardest hit were the Big Island and Maui.

Oahu should have a quiet day, with no bus service and city services shut down. However there has been damage on Oahu. The dock and boats in Keehi Lagoon were damaged.

6:50 a.m. Downgrade to Advisory Considered

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is considering downgrading the warning to an advisory within an hour, Lara Yamada of KITV4 reports.

The step, which would put the event a step lower than even the tsunami watch that started the worries about 11 hours ago, would allow residents to return to their homes in low-lying coastal areas.

The PTWC would only authorize the change if it felt that all areas were safe, Yamada reported.

6:40 a.m. A Message to Tourists

Gov. Neil Abercrombie used an early morning press conference to reassure tourists that they’re still important in Hawaii.

Tourism Authority chief Mike McCartney spoke after Abercrombie and encouraged visitors to work with their hotels and airlines to make sure their travels go smoothly.

In addition to making sure everyone makes their outbound flights, the state will also assist Japanese tourists get in touch with their families and friends back home.

6:15 a.m. Don’t Expect Honolulu City Services Today 

On Oahu, city workers who aren’t tasked with disaster response are ordered to stay home today. It means trash pick-up is delayed, and several city sites will be closed, including:

All city golf courses
Hanauma Bay
Honolulu Zoo

As the first sunlight begins to bleed into the sky over the Hawaiian Islands, officials have yet to lift the tsunami warning, or indicate just when that might happen.

6:02 a.m. Hawaii Still in Danger

Hawaii is still in danger, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center’s Chip McCreery says.

“That wave energy basically by refraction gets trapped between the islands, bounces around and wraps around the islands, and so we have to give it some time for that energy to diminish before it’s really safe,” McCreery told Civil Beat. “We’re still seeing wave action on the gauges, and from civil defense we’ve gotten reports that people are observing dangerous wave action still along the coast. We have to wait. Going home to inundation zones is out of the question. People should not try to go back into those coastal zones until an all-clear is given.”

As to whether the damage will be worst in Kahului, McCreery said it’s too early to tell.

“We certainly saw our biggest signals on our gauge at Kahului but we don’t have gauges everywhere,” McCreery said. “It’s going to take a little time to see what damage was done.”

5:45 a.m. Tsunami Warning ‘Not Over’

Gov. Neil Abercrombie emphasized the tsunami warning “is not over.” He emphasized the importance of people staying off the roads, and in safe areas. “Obey orders,” the governor cautioned.

5:24 a.m. Kauai Waiting for Guidance

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center geophysicist Gerard Fryer said he hopes that the worst is behind Kauai, but that’s not enough to convince Mayor Bernard Carvalho to signal an all-clear for his island’s residents to return to low-lying coastal areas.

Spokeswoman Beth Tokioka told Civil Beat that the county was told by the PTWC around 30 minutes ago that it would be at least another hour until they were comfortable giving the green light, and Tokioka said she didn’t expect the mayor would jump the gun without PTWC’s blessing.

While there were reports of large waves in Hanalei Bay on the North Shore and Port Allen on the Leeward side, Tokioka said, “So far, there’s no report of damage in any of those areas where it appeared there was the most wave activity.”

County staff is still making assessments. There have been no injuries reported, she said.

5:22 a.m. Waiting for ‘All Clear’

Honolulu officials are still waiting for the “all clear” before lifting the tsunami warning. TheBus service is suspended at least until that happens.

5:11 a.m. South Maui Sees Little Wave Action

While Maui’s Kahului Harbor was hardest hit, the south shore seems to have been spared.

A Kihei resident says Maui’s south shoreline appeared to have receded by only about 5 feet.

Still, the county took precaution and shut down roads as early as 12:30 a.m. in the Kihei and Wailea areas. South Kihei Road — one of two main arteries through the area — was shutdown to all traffic by 12:30 a.m. Its northern parallel, Piilani Highway, was closed off by 1 a.m. Police and resort security (Wailea is like the Waikiki of Maui) helped with evacuations.

A security guard for the Harbor Lights Condominium, located directly across the street from Kahului Harbor, said all residents of the building’s nearly 400 apartments were evacuated late Thursday night. He said he too had to evacuate and had not seen any of the reported 6-feet-plus waves.

5:10 a.m. Damage in Kahului

A worker at the Civil Defense office on Maui confirmed reports of tsunami-related damage in Kahului. The staffer wouldn’t provide more details, referring questions to a supervisor who was unavailable.

5 a.m. Evacuations ‘The Right Call’

Dr. Gerard Fryer of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center allowed himself to breathe a sigh of relief just now as he said evacuating coastal areas was absolutely the right call and was definitely “necessary.”

He said he hopes the worst is already behind Kauai, though he couldn’t make the same claim for Oahu, Maui and Big Island.

He said Kahului’s gauge measurement of a six-foot wave was not accurate because the equipment both “topped out” and “bottomed out.” He said Kahului was undoubtedly damaged by the waves.

Fryer also said a gauge in Haleiwa stopped transmitting data at one point and that Oahu might still be hit hard if energy becomes trapped between the Gathering Isle and Molokai.

4:57 a.m. Watching the Tsunami in D.C.

4:55 a.m. Civil Defense Center

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz at the state emergency operations center.

4:35 a.m. Kahului Hit Hardest So Far

With reports of the second and third wave to hit the Hawaiian Islands trickling in, Maui has had the biggest wave action thus far.

The latest data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shows that Kahului was hit with a six-foot wave at 3:40 a.m., and that was only part of the story as the measurement was “clipped” and the “actual is larger,” according to the data.

Haleiwa had a 3.6-foot wave at 3:29 a.m., and Milolii had a 2.2-foot wave at 3:50 a.m.

The Big Island was the last to get hit. Numbers have yet to be reported for Hilo, which was projected to experience the largest tsunami action.

4:27 a.m. No Surfing Today

It’s getting to be around that time of the morning where the dawn patrol begins its round looking for waves — but not this variety.

Spanky Lewis, 56 years old, watched the water after it had just surged again off Diamond Head.

“I’ve never seen the water get so high,” he said. “There’s always beach.”

He described the area as “my stomping ground.”

“My gang should be here in about 15 minutes,” he said. Asked if he’d be going out on his board this morning, Lewis said, “No surfing today, the water’s kind of sketchy. I can wait a day.”

With pretty steady rain coming down, a lot of the crowd dissipated, including Civil Beat’s intrepid Diamond Head-stationed reporter.

4:24 a.m. Dispatch from Ala Moana Center

Intoxicated revelers are emerging from Kapiolani Avenue bars, and they don’t seem concerned about the tsunami warning. A light rain is falling, and the streets are mostly quiet.

4:23 a.m. Warning Center Doesn’t Expect ‘Major’ Damage

In the latest media update from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, geophysicist Gerard Fryer had some good news: “This is not going to be a major damaging event.”

But, he cautioned, “I don’t think there’s going to be an all-clear before dawn … We’re not in the middle of it, it’s basically just started.”

Asked when the islands might get the all-clear, Fryer said “that really depends on whether the tsunami grows and … if there’s any damage.”

Fryer said that once the center cancels its warning, if the tsunami causes sizable damage, the individual counties would then be responsible to give the all-clear once damaged areas are deemed safe.

4:17 a.m. Inouye Reaches Out

Sen. Dan Inouye is reaching out to the people of Japan via Twitter.

@Daniel_Inouye Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan as they work to recover from this tragic disaster.

4:10 a.m. Kimo’s Back

The bicycle-riding 59-year old went home and turned on his television. When he saw the water suck out and expose the reef, he wanted to come out and see it himself.

“Look! It’s happening again!” he said as the water pulled back once more. “It’s scary … It’s unnatural. You know that something else is happening in Hilo or Haleiwa or maybe Kailua.”

“I’ve lived here since I was 11 years old and I’ve never seen that,” he said of the exposed reef.

4:01 a.m. President Obama’s Statement

Statement By The President On The Earthquake In Japan And The Resulting Tsunami Warning Throughout The Pacific

“Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis. The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy. 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.”

3:52 a.m. More Wave Numbers

More numbers are in from that first wave.

Hanalei Kauai was hit by a 1.2-foot wave at 3:06 a.m., then Nawiliwili Kauai saw a 2.1-foot wave at 3:11 a.m. Makapuu had a 1.6-foot wave at 3:12 a.m., and Haleiwa saw a 3.3-foot wave at 3:16 a.m.

Projections earlier tonight said Haleiwa and Hilo would likely experience the largest tsunami events.

3:49 a.m. Dispatch from Waikiki

Reporter Chad Blair is near Kapiolani Park, where he said a surreal scene is playing out. The air is “dead still” and humid, and the horizon is dotted with countless boats of all kinds. Boats left harbors where they could have sustained major damages. A helicopter is passing overhead repeatedly, shining a bright spotlight on the shoreline.

3:50 a.m. First Numbers From Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

The first numbers showing the impacts of the tsunami on Hawaii are in from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Nawiliwili, Kauai was hit at 2:59 a.m. Friday with a wave that peaked at 0.49 meters or 1.6 feet, with a period of 52 minutes. Barber’s Point on Oahu was hit at 3:08 a.m. by a wave that reached 0.7 meters or 2.3 feet.

The first wave is not necessarily the largest, so subsequent waves could cause inundation.

3:46 a.m. Lookout Crowd

At Diamond Head Lookout, a crowd of more than 50 curious residents started to disperse after 3 a.m. came and went without any dramatic wave action.

Kimo Pestana, a 50-something neighborhood man who rode his bike to the lookout early Friday morning, didn’t stay long.

“If something’s going to happen, I at least wanted to see it, but of course I’m glad nothing did,” he said.

About one-third of the residents headed home by around 3:30 a.m., but the ones who stayed saw the waves pull out dramatically, exposing 200 to 300 feet of reef.

One resident brought a large spotlight to shed some light on the water.

3:40 a.m.  Pedestrians Returning to Sidewalks

As a live-cam trained on Waikiki shows intermittent pedestrians returning to the sidewalks, officials are still watching to see how big tsunami waves rolling onto Hawaii shores could get.

The all-clear has not been sounded.

3:32 a.m. First Kauai Wave Come and Gone

The first wave has come and gone on Kauai, and while it was a relatively small start, that’s just the beginning for the tsunami in Hawaii.

The National Weather Service says the gauge in Nawiliwili on the southeast corner of Kauai peaked at about 1.5 feet on the first wave and is already on its way down, though it warns we should “expect a draw down then a significantly larger return surge with the true peak.”

“Should be a good gauge for the tsunami further down stream.”

3:21 a.m.  Dispatch from Ala Moana Center

Security guards at the shopping center kicked out a small group of homeless people from the upper parking deck, and sent them down to the sidewalk.

Gerald, 55, looks tired as he explains the situation. He said he has cardiac problems and a spinal injury, and cannot walk himself to higher ground. The street is empty but for these six homeless people.

3:05 a.m.  Dispatch From Kahala

Civil Beat Assistant Editor Sara Lin describes Kahala as a “ghost town,” completely deserted with no signs of life beyond the glow of flares set up to block Kalanianaole Highway.

At Diamond Head lookout there are a couple dozen people gathered to watch the waves, including one person setting up a hibachi. On the horizon, the lights of hundreds of ships dot the sea like stars.

Kyle Eckstrom, 27, brought a BBQ with three of his friends and dog to Diamond Head lookout. He said they took a nap until 2:30 a.m. and then decided to come up to the lookout. He said, “it’d be neat to see a tidal wave, but I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but it’d be neat to see one.” Last February when there was a tsunami watch, Eckstrom had a BBQ and a keg.

Overhead, a yellow helicopter flew low over the shoreline to make sure there was no one the beach.

3:00 a.m. Seven Minutes Away From First Wave

The estimate is that Kauai will be the first to experience wave at 3:07 a.m.

2:46 a.m. Latest Wave Report

The latest update from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has just arrived.

Little has changed — arrival time in Hawaii is still estimated at 3:07 a.m., just 30 minutes from now.

The latest wave height measurement on Midway at 12:48 a.m. was 4.2 feet high with a period of 12 minutes, shorter by both metrics than previous reports.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Director Chip McCreery said: “We’re keeping Hawaii in a warning … We’re not changing anything in terms of the forecast for Hawaii.”

“Kauai will be hit first. The time between Kauai and Oahu is not going to be much. By the time we see one cycle of the wave — these waves can take 20 minutes to form a cycle — it’ll be hitting Oahu.”

“We’re still expecting a max in Haleiwa and Hilo of 2 meters (6 feet) above normal sea level — and 6 feet is significant. The high currents can pick up boulders from the sea floor … once on shore it can pick up cars and amplify the destruction.”

2:35 a.m. UH Cancels Classes

The University of Hawaii has sent out an alert to faculty, staff and students: “Based on the latest information available, classes have been cancelled for Friday, March 12 at all UH campuses on all islands.  Non-essential personnel should not come to campus.

Over these next difficult hours we ask that all our students, faculty and staff focus on the health and well-being of ourselves, your families and your neighbors.”

2:30 a.m. Kauai Closes Coastal Roads

Kauai, like Honolulu, has begun to close down its coastal roadways. According to a press release from county officials, the following roads and intersections are now closed:

  • North shore: Kūhi‘ō Highway at Hanalei Plantation Road, ‘Anini Road, Kalihiwai Road, Moloa’a Road, South ‘Aliomanu Road
  • East side: Kūhi‘ō Highway at Anahola Road, Kūhi‘ō Highway in Keālia, Mailehua Road, Kawaihau Road, Hauaala Road at Laipo Road, Olohena Road, Kuamoo Road, Haleilio Road at Nonou Road
  • Central Kaua’i: Rice and Makoi Streets, Nāwiliwili Road and Lala Road, Lala Place and Lala Road, Ahukini and Kapule Highway, Kapule Highway and Kūhi‘ō Highway, Hulemalu Road, Hanamā’ulu Beach Road
  • South shore: Intersection of Kōloa Road and Po’ipū Road, Kōloa roundabout
  • West side: Kaumuali‘i Highway at Waimea Bridge, Kaumuali‘i Highway at Lele Road, Waialo Road at Kaumuali‘i Highway

2:15 a.m. Shelter Full

The holding area at King Kaumualii Elementary School in Hanamaulu on Kauai is full, county officials are reporting. People seeking a place to wait out the tsunami warning in central Kauai should go to Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Puhi or Wilcox Elementary School in Lihue.

A dozen elementary, middle and high schools were opened for evacuees.

2:07 a.m. Honolulu Airport Open

Civil Beat just spoke with State Department of Transportation spokesman Daniel Meisenzahl, who said Honolulu International Airport is open, and neighbor island airports are ready to take any flights that may have to be diverted if planes cannot land on Oahu.

“There are just no flights arriving at this point in time,” Meisenzahl said. “The Hilo airport was closed only because the community that lives between the airport and the ocean, their evacuation route goes to the airport. Five international flights to Honolulu have been canceled, some have already taken off. Seven flights out of Honolulu have been canceled. Five of those seven are the ones who never arrived.”

Meisenzahl said the state’s harbors are empty:

“Harbors have been completely evacuated, shut down, and all ships went out to sea. A parade of ships went out. All the heavy equipment at the harbors, at airports, on highways, it was all moved to higher ground.”

2:00 a.m. Honolulu Police Closing Roads

Associated Press is reporting that police are closing roads in tsunami zones across Oahu.

1:38 a.m. Twitter Action

Not everyone thinks there should be a public early warning system.

@vanryzin: “No sirens in Kailua. Thank you!! #HITsunami”

Jokes: “Earthquakes in Japan, Hawaii AND Phillipines! Good thing it’s not 2012. #hitsunami” -@TikiTales

“I wonder where’s the guy that waded in the water off Waikiki the last time? skinnny dipping? #hitsunami” -@dachad

Water’s been shut off in south Maui, Tweeters are saying:

“They just shut the water off in south Maui #tsunami” –@MichaelRCooley

Facebookers report that dozens of homeless families began showing up in the Ward area around 9 p.m. looking for a safe place to stay.

1:30 a.m. Abercrombie: We’re Prepared
The latest update from Gov. Neil Abercrombie:
“In any potential disaster or serious natural event, knowledge is everything. I’m convinced we have as much knowledge and as much perspective as is possible and as a result, I think we’re prepared.”

The governor said it’s too early to declare a state of emergency in Hawaii.  

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”

1:28 a.m. Midway and Hawaii

Dan Walker, a retired University of Hawaii geology professor who serves as a volunteer advisor to the City and County of Honolulu, told KITV that a prior tsunami that measured 1.9 meters at Midway Atoll created 30-foot waves at Kaena Point on Oahu.

The wave height of the first waves to hit Midway tonight was more than 5 feet.

The National Weather Service said the first wave was measured at 2.5 meters in Midway.

Walker said that “the great Alaskan Earthquake” in 1964 measured just 0.1 meters — 3 inches — at Midway but 16 feet at Waimea Bay. He said that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be the same ratio this time — in fact, sometimes, waves can be bigger at Midway than in Hawaii, but he says we can’t expect that Hawaii will track Midway exactly.

“What it does point out is that there’s a disconnect,” he said.

1:16 a.m. Update from Honolulu Environmental Services

An update from the city’s Environmental Services director, who is reminding residents to conserve water, and says the city is taking steps to prepare for wave inundation:

“We’ve secured the Waianae treatment plant,” Environmental Services Director Tim Steinberger told KITV. “We have crews already out throughout the island… I think right now we’re in pretty good shape.”

1:10 a.m. Numbers From Midway Bigger Than Saipan and Wake Island

The first numbers from Midway Atoll are in, and they don’t bode well for Hawaii.

The National Weather Service says the gauge at Midway reported a 0.53-meter rise and then a drop of more than four feet ahead of the next wave, making the wave height more than five feet.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has not officially updated its projections for wave sizes for Hawaii.

The waves were bigger than at Saipan and Wake. Mayor Peter Carlisle said he has received conflicting reports about expected wave size, and didn’t want to provide details because he didn’t want to cause panic.

1:07 a.m. Twitter Action

Not everyone is online frantically swapping messages about #hitsunami.

Hawaii State Rep. Della Au Belatti (@RepBelatti) shared what she and her family are doing to pass the time until the tsunami is expected to hit. “@ktpoy Children are safe and asleep. Parents awake and listening to multiple news channels.”

Meanwhile, a battle of the interests is taking place among cell phone users: Some technocrats say they may have found a workaround for AT&T network problems on the iPhone so they may resume texting and calling. Others are repeatedly admonishing anyone who will listen not to use their cell phones unless absolutely necessary.

Others are pitching in with helpful survival tips in the event of a disaster.

From @ChrisDaida: “Emergency water purification with bleach. #hitsunami”

From @USAGHI: “Got pets? Don’t leave them behind. Check out for a list of disaster shelters that allow pets. #HItsunami”

From @HPH_Hospitals:”Kapiolani, Pali Momi, Straub & Wilcox are accepting emergencies. Pls keep in mind that hospitals are not emergency shelters. #hitsunami”

People are reporting that Iolani, Damian and Punahou schools will be closed on Friday.

1:01 a.m. Carlisle Delivers Calm Instructions
Mayor Peter Carlisle is placing all city workers who are not involved in disaster response operations on administrative leave Friday.

“It is our responsibility to do those things that are absolutely essential to ensure that human life is saved,” Carlisle said.

At 2 a.m., all roads will be shut down in evacuation areas.

12:52 a.m. iPad2 Debut

Schools are closing, businesses boarding up, homeowners hunkering down, and kids camp at the Honolulu Y is getting cut short.

[YMCAHonolulu: “#HITsunami @ymcacamperdman Parents of YMCA of Honolulu campers — you can p/up your kids from our Y branches.”

Technology geeks are persistent about their passion, even in a crisis.

“poor #ipad2 it’s debut is ruined thanks to the tsunami. #hitsunami,” said @jade_daily

Another Tweeter earlier wondered what effect the tsunami would have on lines for the iPad 2 debut at Apple’s Waikiki store.

12:49 a.m. Planes to Hawaii Turning Around

AP: Seven or eight jets bound for Hawaii have turned around, including at least one from Japan.

12:44 a.m. School Closures

Department of Education schools were already scheduled to be closed Friday.

The UH medical school in Kakaako has canceled classes for tomorrow. There are no other campus closures announced for tomorrow at this time.

12:43 a.m. 10 Biggest Earthquakes since 1900
It’s still not clear exactly where the huge 8.9 magnitude quake that hit Japan ranks in earthquake history — the way quakes are measured has changed in the past century — but here’s a rundown of the 10 biggest quakes since 1900 until this point.

  1. Southern Chile, 9.5 Magnitude, May 22, 1960
  2. Prince William Sound, 9.2 Magnitude, March 27, 1964
  3. Coast of Sumatra, 9.1 Magnitude, December 28, 2004
  4. Kamchatka, 9.0 Magnitude, November 5, 1952
  5. Chile, 8.8 Magnitude, February 27, 2010
  6. Coast of Ecuador, Magnitude 8.8, January 31, 1906
  7. Rat Islands, 8.7 Magnitude, February 3, 1965  
  8. Northern Sumatra, 8.8 Magnitude, March 28, 2005  
  9. Assam-Tibet, 8.6 Magnitude, August 15, 1950
  10. Andreanof Islands, 8.6 Magnitude, March 8, 1957

See the interactive map from CNN.

At least one historic report of an earthquake before 1900 is shocking enough to mention: In 1812, an earthquake that shook what’s now Missouri was so strong that trees split down the middle, tremors made church bells begin ringing in Boston and a so-called fluvial tsunami caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards for several hours.

12:40 a.m. Wave Activity on Wake Island and Saipan

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center just posted another update at 12:31 a.m. that maintains the tsunami warning and says first contact is still expected at 3:07 a.m., presumably on Kauai.

The measurements of wave activity does include some new data: Wake Island experienced a wave with an amplitude of 0.39 meters (1.3 feet) at 11:28 p.m. Hawaii time and Saipan was hit with a 0.65-meter (2.1-foot) wave at 11:16 p.m. Hawaii time.

12:33 a.m. Gov: Act With Aloha

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

“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 Hawai’i National Guard is on standby on all Hawaiian Islands.

Officials report roads will be closed in inundation zones beginning at 2 a.m. Hospitals are asking people to stay away unless they are experiencing true medical emergencies. 

12:29 a.m. ‘Hawaii Tsunami 2011’

One of our team received a Facebook invitation at 11:30 p.m. to a “Very Early Morning Quiet Tsunami Jacuzzi and Pool Refuge BBQ.” By midnight-thirty, the invitation title and description had changed to something a bit more serious.

“Hawaii Tsunami 2011.”

Everyone be safe.

I’ve been asked not to incite people to travel on the roads away from immediate safe areas unnecessarily.

*If there is anyone who is in need of true refuge please see the note I posted at*


12:24 a.m. Depending on Gadgets

Technology lovers never realize quite how much they depend on their gadgets until a time like this.

MrKMattos said, “I love how I hear ‘tsunami,’ ‘possible power outage,’ and I automatically think ‘I better hurry up and charge my phone.’ LOL #hitsunami”

(We at Civil Beat did the same thing.)

And earlier tonight, from @bosshawaii: “1st thing my husband grabbed for the evacuation was his xbox & the first thing I did was get on twitter. We are sick I tell you! #hitsunami”

In some places, fear is taking hold. @HawaiiZag reports thirdhand about a fight on Maui, unwittingly using Civil Beat’s hashtag: “My friend on Maui says Foodland Upcountry shut down due to two fights. Can’t confirm but people #becivil!”

Meanwhile, UH students are feeling a little let down: “Finally got my UH text alert….except it only says that there is a tsunami warning….thanks for the helpful info. #hitsunami” –SciFi_Girl21

12:16 Next Indicators at 12:30

The estimate is that the waves could reach Midway Atoll at around 12:30 a.m.

12:15 a.m. Waves as Big as 2 Meters Expected

The latest information from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center indicates that a 0.5-meter wave struck Wake Island, and an 0.8-meter wave struck Saipan. According to the center these islands are not in the main axis of tsunami energy.

Tsunami waves of 2-meters are now anticipated at Hanalei (Kauai), Haleiwa (Oahu), Hilo and Kailua-Kona (Big Island), 1.4-meters at Kahalui (Maui) and 0.9-meters at Honolulu.

Arrival time estimates, according to the National Weather Service are: 2:59 a.m. at Nawiliwili (Kauai), 3:13 a.m. in Honolulu, 3:20 a.m. in Kahului (Maui) and 3:39 a.m. at Hilo (Big Island).

12:12 a.m. Abercrombie Talks of Higher Ground

Governor Neil Abercrombie spoke with reporters, again urging residents in inundation zones to move to higher ground.

Abercrombie on KITV says Hawaii has plenty of time to prepare for the tsunami. He advises not to “out-guess” the tsunami, that it can have wrap-around effect once it hits an island, that the best advice is to move away from coastal lands. No need to get gas or anything like that.

Abercrombie says state operates on basis that all islands will be affected. He says everything seems to be in order in great measure in evacuation zones because the media is getting the word out. Keep calm and collected, practice aloha.

12:05 a.m. Twitter Feed

Kamehameha Schools announced on its Twitter feed (@KSNews that all campuses and offices are going to be closed on Friday, March 11.

Although most people seem to have received the warning in one form or another, some are still reporting they either did not hear the civil defense sirens, or barely heard them. From @kalliek: “Sirens extremely faint in old Kahului near new areas of Maui Lani, where, I suspect no new sirens have been installed.”

Many are quipping and joking about the (possible) impending danger — with some good-natured jabs at the media.

From Ryan Ozawa, aka @hawaii: “Ah, journalists. ‘Please stay off the roads unless you’re evacuating. Now to our live trucks roaming Honolulu for panic shots!’ #hitsunami”

But for some, reality is beginning to sink in. Between the quips about journalists and last year’s infamous Waikiki tsunami surfer, cell service outages and food and fuel shortages dominate the online conversation.

“Seriously Fox News?!” Tweets @missdjm. “Someone in Hawaii tell me each island carries more than 5 days worth of food. #HITsunami.”

12:01 a.m. Abercrombie Gives Warning

Associated Press: Gov. Abercrombie: “There’s a tsunami coming. Make no mistake about that. It’s coming.”

11:58 p.m. Carlisle Urges Calm

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle read a statement to TV news crews downtown, and urged Oahu residents to stay calm while taking the tsunami warning seriously.

“Don’t necessarily believe that the worst is going to happen, but prepare as if the worst is going to happen,” Carlisle said.

11:57 p.m. Maui To Shut Down Sewer and Water

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa told Hawaii News Now that his county will shut down the sewer system and water system, so residents are advised to fill the bathtubs before the waves arrive.

11:54 p.m. Kauai School Evacuation Shelters

The Department of Education has opened nine schools on Kauai as holding areas for visitors and others who must evacuate tsunami inundation zones, the Kauai Civil Defense Agency has announced.

The schools are Kilauea Elementary on the North Shore, Kapaa Elementary and Kapaa Middle Schools on the Eastside, King Kaumualii Elementary, Wilcox Elementary, Kauai High School and Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Central Kauai and Eleele Elementary  and Waimea High School on the Westside.

11:49 p.m. Red Cross
Civil Beat caught up with Coralie Matayoshi, CEO at the American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter:

“Refuge centers have been opened but they are just a place for people to gather. So they need to bring all of their own emergency supplies. In case a tsunami does hit, you should be prepared to have no phones or electricity, even if you’re not in an inundation zone. We do have 600 volunteers who are disaster trained, and if we do need more people, we will issue something on the radio. We’re going to be really, really busy if something big happens.”

11:47 Gas Prices Hot on Twitter

@Olagon on Twitter reports that not all gas stations are raising prices: “Filled gas in Kaneohe. Gas station dropped price of all grades to regular #hitsunami” Other Twitter users on Oahu report cars parked on Kamehameha Highway outside of Haleiwa — they suspect people are sleeping in their cars there. Many in the online world are expressing frustration at cell phone services not working. AT&T receiving the brunt of the anger.

The gas price issue is picking up steam in the online world. Tweeters are warning each other against gouging. “If you see price gouging, know that it is ILLEGAL in Hawaii,” said @SisLum. “Report it to the Ofc of Consumer Affairs. #hitsunami.”

11:46 p.m. University of Hawaii

An e-mail sent to University of Hawaii faculty and students alerted them to the tsunami warning — more than an hour after the statewide warning was issued.

11:45 p.m. Last Flight

Dan Meisenzahl from the Hawaii Department of Transportation says the last flight will arrive at Honolulu International Airport on United Airlines in about 10 minutes. The last flight out is at 1 a.m. to Vancouver. After that, the airport will close.

Lihue, Kahului and Hilo Airports are all closed, he said.

11:43 p.m. Electrical Workers Will Return to Work if “Major Emergency” Occurs

Civil Beat spoke with HECO’s Peter Rosegg, who said the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has agreed to return to work if a “major emergency” occurs. Here’s the complete update from Rosegg:

“We are taking the precautions that we always take in the case of a tsunami: Moving our vehicles to a safe area, and shifting to gneration so we are as little dependent as possible on the Kahe Power Plant, which is the only plant in an inundation zone.

We are ready. We have an agreement with the union in the case of a major emergency. They will return to work. They promised us they would come in. We’re in pretty good shape. We don’t have any outages reported.”

11:42 p.m. Kauai Preparing

Kauai officials say Mayor Bernard Carvalho and all essential personnel are in the Emergency Operations Center, which is fully operational. They’re expecting an update from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shortly, after measurements are taken at Wake Island.

11:37 p.m. Pearl Harbor Ships to Stay Put

Navy says ships will be staying put in Pearl Harbor.

11:17 p.m. Chip McCreery of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said he expects waves to reach Wake Island soon, then at Midway around 12:30 a.m.

Measurements at those locations will give us a preview of what we might be able to expect in Hawaii a few hours later.

It’s expected that waves could be as large as two meters (about 6.5 feet) above normal sea level. Unlike surf waves, tsunami waves will last much longer.

11:13 p.m. The latest from Twitter: Gas stations are raising prices as vehicle owners rush to fill up.

Twitter users from Waipio are reporting they did not hear civil defense sirens.

11:11 p.m. Here’s the report of that magnitude 4.6 earthquake that hit Kilauea Volcano 10 minutes ago.

11:09 p.m. On Kauai, officials say they will sound sirens at 11:55 p.m., 12:55 a.m., 1:55 a.m. and 2:25 a.m.

The estimated arrival of the first wave is at 3:07 a.m.

11:07 p.m. Civil Beat spoke with Lt. Gene Maestas, public affairs officer for the U.S. Coast Guard, who gave us this update:

“The first thing we did is we recalled most of our units and most of our personnel. We’ve also sent out a press release urging the public to seek higher ground. We’ve also issued a number of notices to mariners to safeguard property and lives at sea. We have not received any reports of mariners in danger. We’re also coordinating with Hawaii State Civil Defense and FEMA. We are moving aircraft and moving cutters. They’ll be prepared to respond in the event that there is a tsunami.”

11:05 p.m. Earthquake in Hilo. KHNL is reporting that a magnitude 4.6 earthquake has just struck Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island.

11:05 p.m. Civil Beat is collecting photos from around the islands. Please submit your photos in our Flickr Group.

11:04 p.m. Hawaii Civil Defense is advising all residents in tsunami inundation zones to evacuate immediately.

The alert, issued at 10:38, reads “Leave all coastal evacuation zones immediately. Refer to Hawaiian Telcom or Paradise Pages for evacuation maps.”

See if your home is in the evacuation zone here.

11:03 p.m. Kauai airport has been shut down for the night, according to Dan Meisenzahl of the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

The westernmost of the main Hawaiian Islands will likely be the first to be hit by any tsunami waves.

The last flights from Kahului, Maui will depart at 10:50 p.m. or 11 p.m., Meisenzahl told KHNL, after which it will close for the night. Honolulu International Airport is also in the process of being shut down for the evening.

10:59 p.m. Sirens will be going off again in minutes.

Peter Hirai, from the City of Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Management:

“We are sounding the sirens very soon for the second time. Sirens are going to sound every hour until wave arrival, then we are going to sound it every 15 minutes. We began the evacuation. We opened tsunami refuge areas. The city is protecting its own force. We hope everyone else is evacuating if they’re in the zone. We already got problems with gas station lines.”

10:58 p.m. Recommendations For Disaster Preparedness Kit

Think practical first, and think comfortable second. All essential needs should be able to fit in a 5-gallon bucket. Absolute necessities include food, water and warmth.

Foodstuffs should be high energy non-perishables and kept in sealed air-tight containers. Made-ready meals and canned goods are excellent choices for emergency food sources. It is safe to ration, the body can be maintained on half of your average caloric intake during an emergency. Provisions should include enough food supplies to last five to seven days for each family member.

Water stored for drinking purposes should also be a supply sufficient to last three days for each family member.

Keep warm in cold temperatures to prevent illness and hypothermia. Critical areas to keep dry and warm are the head, neck, chest, feet and groin. Athletic clothing offers moderate environmental insulation without giving up the benefits of being easily attainable, affordable, lightweight, portable and breathable.

Consider additional necessities to include in your emergency preparedness kit. When making additions to your family emergency kit, keep in mind that it should be easily transportable, accessible, and close to an exit of the building.

Read more.

10:53 p.m. Here’s a chilling video filmed from inside an apartment in Japan during the quake. It shows furniture and walls shaking violently:

10:48 p.m. Taizo Braden, KHNL reporter, talks about family over in Japan affected by the quake.

10:42 p.m. Brian Coulter is one boat owner who wasn’t taking any chances.

“My boat is worth $120,000. I love my boat,” he said as he paced toward his vessel, the Kai Runner 2. “You can’t leave it here, it’ll get smashed.”

“We’re weekend warriors,” he said. “We’re not a charter boat — we own our own boat. We can’t take a chance. We can’t afford it.”

10:35 p.m. Kewalo Basin Harbor is still mostly deserted.

One commercial fisherman had come by to check his boat. But Capt. Bob McCowan, 61, who owns the Blue Nun Too said wasn’t planning on leaving the harbor just yet.

“Our plan is to wait and monitor the situation. We’ll wait and see what’s going to happen. We’ll come back around midnight and if it looks like it’ll be bad, we’ll all go out,” he said.

“We’ve had so many of these warnings. So often it’s uneventful, but you always air on the side of caution. When it comes to about one o’clock, we’ll make a decision. Some people will come down, most of us will just monitor what’s happening.”

Deep water safe enough to ride out a potential wave — about 1,000 feet or more — is just 15 minutes offshore.

“In a tsunami we’ll take the boat out, in a hurricane, you stay home,” McCowan said.

10:23 p.m. Estimated Arrival Times

Estimated arrival time for Honolulu is 3:13 a.m. The first place in Hawaii expected to be affected is Nawiliwili Kauai, the nearest island to Japan.

10:22 p.m. Line-ups at Gas Stations

Long lines of cars 10-deep at Piikoi and King. Long lines at gas stations.

10:19 p.m. Higher Ground

Department of Transportation is moving its equipment to higher ground. Preparing for the worst.

10:09 p.m. “Expecting Significant Impact”

Chip McCreery of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says it’s expecting “a significant impact.”


  • Wave heights of about 6 feet. Think of a 6-foot change in the height of the ocean.
  • Sirens will sound on the hour.
  • Expecting a significant impact.
  • Don’t be lulled into complacency by last year’s tsunami after Chile quake that didn’t do damage.

10:03 Warning

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says the waves would wrap around islands and be two meters high. Tsunami wave crests are 20-30 minutes apart. They’re very long waves. They raise sea level and it stays high for a long time. Water can inundate the coastline.

9:57 p.m. Civil Defense Sirens

Civil Defense warnings are going off. At the beach near Diamond Head, the sound is loud and clear.

  1. This paragraph originally indicated that the agenda would be fully deferred. That decision has not yet been finalized.