Posted by: Anna Webb | February 27, 2010

Hawaii Tsunami Update: Missing the “Big One”

SE Puna Coast -not the normal wave action - more sloshing than normal

A tsunami warning was issued for the Hawaiian Islands today after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Chile. Evacuations began for the Hawaiian Islands at 6am, 5 hours prior to the estimated time of arrival of the first tsunami wave. While Hawaii Civil Defense isn’t giving an “all clear” because the ocean is not behaving normally, we missed the “big one”.

At the grassy area in front of the Kalapana Seaview Estates subdivision, it became more of a “block party” than a main event. It is a gorgeous day which lent itself to a nice gathering of neighbors.

State and County officials did a great job of creating a safe evacuation. More surge took place in Hilo at Hilo Bay. Better safe than sorry and we’re glad no damage is being reported thus far.

SE Puna Coastline looking East

People gathered on the lawn to take photos

Past the arrival time, people felt more comfortable to walk to the cliffs


  1. It’s good that we missed the “big-one,” but what about public confidence in the future-?- The USGS needs to explain why their 9 meter prediction was so inaccurate, or people will loose confidence, … more research is necessary >>> <<<

  2. It’s good to see the people pull together during these types of situations. I also think it helps to remind us all that we need to be prepared for anything on the islands. I do agree with the post above, as it doesn’t take long for folks to become somewhat unconcerned. So glad it worked out the way it did however. Ann

  3. I too agree with the first post. Too many become complacent when they see “nothing happened” and don’t realize how lucky we were that we missed ‘the big one’.
    In my opinion, it is always better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best….

  4. Joshua,
    I actually had an idea that they were very small waves after I heard a county official on TV say “We are hesitating to share predicted wave heights with the public. We do not want people to think it’s ok to go down to the ocean during this event.”

    Immediately I thought “6 inch waves”. What people don’t understand is that wave height is only one component of the effects of a tsunami. Undertow. And, undertow can be bad here on a good day!

    I’ll shift the focus for a moment from USGS to the use of media as a DISinformation tool. I’ve seen it over and over where media is used to put false info out to the public. And, yes, over time it has allowed us to become complacent.

    Thanks all for the responses.

  5. People, Please understand that when the whole world is watching, sending love, light, and prayers,
    that miracles do happen! every one was doing
    everything possible to keep you safe!
    Thank you so much ANNA for the part that you played in keeping every one informed.
    Sending you much ALOHA.

  6. yes myrna!
    my sister and b-i-l were evacuated from hotel and scarred waiting for the tsunami. vacationing there. they called all friends, family and posted on face book-asking for prayer
    there must have been at least 100 people praying for them and the islands.
    God is alive and in control
    Hi is the expert in tsunami…they had the data to say one was coming-but it missed
    not a coincidence
    Praise God!!


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