Skip to content
March 2, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Tsunami Scare, Firsthand

Our view from the cliffs above Diamond Head Beach Park during the tsunami watch.  Photo: Alison Caine

IW Account Manager Alison Caine guest-blogs today about her experiences last Saturday in Honolulu.

Tsunamis are triggered by a displacement of a large body of water.  The tragic earthquake that struck Chile on Sat, February 27th sent a wave of energy reeling across the Pacific Ocean in all directions.  While vacationing in Honolulu, I was made aware of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami advisory by the late-night news media.  I turned in for the night as though the next day would be a normal day in paradise . . . completely unsuspecting of the next day’s events.  Text messages from friends at 5:00am local time informed me of the tsunami warning, which generated a sense of anxiousness since this was a rare event in what seemed to me as a foreign place. 

I also woke to find the news media producing non-stop coverage and quickly understood the gravity of the situation.  The newscasters were broadcasting live from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the Civil Defense Center, along with local Emergency Management Officials, had begun executing their evacuation plans.  Overall, the threat was not intended to cause hype and I understood this when the Governor of Hawaii addressed everyone by saying we should follow the orders issued by the local EM.  Governor Linda Lingle calmly stated the plans and procedures were not created overnight; instead, they were thoroughly developed and tested in preparation for such an event.

Of course the media was energetic and compared the earthquake to the one in 1960 that occurred very near the Chile quake on February 27th.  The 1960 earthquake is considered one of the strongest of all time at 9.5 and resulted in a tsunami that destroyed much of Hilo, HI and killed 61 people.  The hype was somewhat misplaced because the 2010 earthquake was not as strong as the 1960 earthquake, however, the community reaction was similar to that of a land-falling hurricane: shortage of gasoline and last-minute stockpiling of food  just in case the “worst-case scenario” happened.

As the day unfolded, we listened intently to the news media as we anxiously packed our belongings to evacuate to higher ground.  The warning sirens sounded every hour as a constant reminder to get out of harm’s way.  We evacuated to the cliffs just down from Diamond Head where we would have a good view well above sea level.  Hundreds of people, including news crews, had the same idea and we watched and waited…  The overall experience left me with a greater understanding of the power of Mother Nature and that we should always be prepared.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: